Tag: Declan Mulcahy

Melbourne Fringe 2016: ____DAY NIGHT’S DREAM

Evocative, intimate wanderings into a nocturne of dreaming

By Myron My

One delightful certainty during the Melbourne Fringe Festival is that there will be a number of performances being held in random and uncommon locations, and ____day Night’s Dream is another great example of this. This immersive show explores the dreams of seven people, and it does so on a 16th-floor apartment overlooking the city.

____Day Night's Dream.jpg

Interestingly, the dreams are all based on the performers’ (Iryna Byeylyayeva, James Christensen, Aram Geleris, Daniel Holmes, Madeleine Johnson, Sara Laurena and Freya McGrath) own dreams, and performing them within the confines of the apartment creates a literal intimacy as well as a metaphorical one, having been invited into this very personal space to be privy to these personal dreams.

Director Declan Mulcahy has takencare to depict the retelling of each dream differently, ensuring the audience is engaged and also not permitting us to get too comfortable with what might happen next – just like in dreams. One unnerving dream unfolds in a bedroom, another takes place via a TV screen that is wheeled out to us in the living room, while a third experience involves a tactile recount of the dreamer’s story.

The apartment is small and while fitting everyone is a tight squeeze, the creators have wisely chosen to split the group, with scenes being performed simultaneously in different rooms. The unfortunate downside to this is that there are times when it is difficult to focus on the dream at hand as you can overhear others being told. This is particularly the case in the living room where I was so eager to hear and attempt to make sense of the recitations by the blindfolded man sitting at a computer screen, “staring” at a blank word doc, but it proved impossible with another exchange taking place only three feet away.

The final dream is quite a surreal experience in ____day Night’s Dream, as we watch and listen in the communal courtyard, while the rest of the building’s tenants go about their business. And then – just like a real dream – it’s over and we are left to walk out into the darkness. Perhaps this is what a waking dream feels like.

Venue: Cnr Bouverie St and Victoria St, Carlton, 3053

Season: until 1 October | 8pm and 10pm
Length: 50 minutes

Tickets: $25 Full | $20 Conc
Bookings: Melbourne Fringe Festival

REVIEW: Melbourne University Shakespeare Company Presents THE TAMING OF THE SHREW

Ambitious production has deliberate sting

By Caitlin McGrane

For my money, The Taming of the Shrew is one of Shakespeare’s most challenging plays for modern audiences; it is difficult to reconcile what is essentially the story of a strong women being abused and subjugated into an emotional wreck with modern politics and female emancipation. Melbourne University’s Shakespeare Company’s production of the play is an ambitious undertaking that seeks to draw out the darkness beneath the humour that so often goes unnoticed and shine a bright and unflinching spotlight on domestic violence.

The Taming of the Shrew

The story is that five suitors compete for the love of the two Minola sisters; one, Bianca (Bridie Pamment) is a mild-mannered ingénue, and the other Katerina (Amelia Burke) is ‘shrewish’ and tempestuous. Their mother has decreed that Bianca may only marry when Katerina is wed, which may prove a difficult task because she likes to shout at men and doesn’t consider any of them interesting enough to bother with (Katerina and I have this pastime in common).

The whole cast did an excellent job with a difficult text and an even more challenging brief. Shakespearean text is thorny, because each performer needs to be on the same page, feeding off other cast members, while delivering their own lines with vim and vigour. There were moments during the performance where the performers fell slightly short of this – acting well as individuals, but not quite forming a cohesive whole. Katerina and Petruchio (Lewis McDonald) worked well together, and I particularly enjoyed McDonald’s Australiana-inflected interpretation of the male protagonist.

While the production was well directed by Fiona Spitzkowsky and Declan Mulcahy, I found the play overlong and tonally uneven in places when Katerina’s abuse became almost unbearable to watch. Certainly this kind of frankness can be a useful device, but in my mind modern audiences have seen abuse on stage and screen enough times to know what it looks like. It would moreover have been good to focus on one thing happening on stage at a time; sometimes it felt like Lucientio (Oscar Shaw) was in a play of his own creation. The minimalist set was well designed by Gabrielle Lewis, and the lighting (Jaiden Leeworthy) was used to great effect. Costume designer Bec Poynton also did a terrific job injecting modernity into the outfits referenced in the script.

I enjoyed the play more thinking about it after I left the theatre, when I could appreciate its creative ambitions. It will certainly be interesting to see what else the cast and crew go on to do.

The Taming of the Shrew is showing at the Guild Theatre in Union House at the University of Melbourne until 24 October. Tickets: http://goo.gl/kUGjLZ