Tag: Sebastian Robinson

REVIEW: La Mama Presents ALPHA

Word play and body art evoke and emote

By Myron My

In this day and age, queer identity is more important than ever. Or is it? In Sebastian Robinson and Tamara Natt’s 2015 Melbourne Fringe production Alpha, the two performers explore the idea of what modern-day queer identity looks like – and if it actually exists. Through poetry, movement, music and sound, the two create a world where the roles we choose to take on in life are revealed and questioned.

Alpha

Robinson and Natt appear on an empty stage, dressed in matching white shoes and black tracksuit outfits. They spend the next 50 minutes creating some beautiful visuals for us not only through their soft and fluid movements and exploration of the space but also through their words. From a Britney Spears song to an Auslan interpretation of a Delta Goodrem song to one of their original works of poetry, Alpha shows how words can do so much to an environment even when you are staring at a relatively empty stage.

Sound designer Milly O’Sullivan, is also on stage with the two performers, creating a live soundscape with her guitar that manages to quietly nestle its way into your mind. Whether it be accompanying the poetry being recited or the scene being acted out or the bodies moving on the stage, O’Sullivan’s sounds heighten every emotion and thought the audience are invited to experience.

At times however, I felt there was so much happening with Alpha and subsequently in my head, that it was difficult to fully grasp and appreciate all the ideas that were being presented. Perhaps this is the point that Robinson and Natt are trying to make with this work. Maybe there is no such thing as queer identity. Maybe the very concept is too big to grasp. There is no constant in the world so maybe we only need to be aware of our own personal identity to love and be loved. Either way, it’s worth your time seeing this show and coming to your own conclusions.

Venue: La Mama Theatre, 205 Faraday Street, Carlton

Season: Until 27 September | Thurs – Sat 10pm, Sun 6.30pm

Tickets: $25 Full | $15 Conc

Bookings: 
Melbourne Fringe Festival

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REVIEW: Collette F Keen’s THE DEATH OF KINGS

Powerful examination of a tragic time

By Myron My

I recently watched the documentary We Were Here about the AIDS crisis in San Francisco during the 80s where gay men were dying in a matter of weeks from the “gay cancer”, and I had wondered how bad the situation had been in Australia. Three weeks later, I am watching the new theatre work The Death of Kings, which looks at that exact topic.

The Death of Kings

In 2010, Colette F. Keen and Adam Deusien interviewed a number of gay men who had experienced the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Sydney in the 80s. From there, Keen’s script for The Death of Kings was born.

Five actors – Mark Dessaix, Greg Iverson, Sebastian Robinson, Joseph Simons and Tyson Wakely – tell the various anecdotes and experiences gathered from that time. They are not restricted to performing on the stage; they walk around and utilize the whole venue to tell their character’s stories. There is very little in terms of set or props so it is up to the five men to make these words come alive, and they deliver strong and engaging performances, especially from Dessaix and Robinson. Deusien’s direction seems effortless and very organic, which ultimately means a lot of time and effort would have gone into giving it that naturalness.

The opening moments are lighthearted and humorous and recreate the blissful time just before the virus appeared in Sydney. From there, the story progresses to its spread, the effects it had on the gay community and the ultimate tragedy of the deaths. As one character movingly states, you would spend ten minutes every Tuesday reading the obituaries to see which of your friends had died that week…

Keen states the inspiration for making The Death of Kings was to ensure the stories of that period did not get lost in time. Personally I found a perhaps even more important reason in the need to remind people that this virus is still a huge issue in society and for us to know just what we are risking when having unsafe sex, especially when there are still many young gay men contracting HIV/AIDS.

The Death of Kings does not preach or force anything upon its audience. It presents the real stories of these people honestly and straightforwardly, with both depth and emotion. A show like this doesn’t happen often and The Death of Kings is one that needs to be watched by all people: gay, straight, man or woman.

Venue: Howler, 7-11 Dawson Street, Brunswick
Season: Until 19 July | 8:00pm
Tickets: $35 Full | $25 Conc
Bookings: http://h-w-l-r.com