Tag: surreal

REVIEW: Kate Hunter’s MEMORANDUM

Sinking delicately into the depths of remembrance

By Margaret Wieringa

Smoke drifts across the stage in layers, twisting and turning with the gentlest movement. The air is filled with the sounds of summer, of insects and birds and the past. Slowly, so slowly, a figure in red is revealed off in the distance corner of the stage, obscured by the smoke and several long, semi-opaque banners that hang from the ceiling to the floor. And the remembering begins.

Memorandum_KateHunter__Photoby_LeoDale

You know what it is like, when you recall your childhood. You remember a story, but cannot be sure if the facts are right, or if you are blending two stories, or if any of it actually happened. But you can remember the full names of your primary school classmates and what they were known for. Sometimes it comes in a rush, sometimes in dribs and drabs. Sometimes, bits layer on top of each other like a dream, or a memory of a dream.

Kate Hunter has captured those feelings in this performance of Memorandum. Being in her company in the space at Theatreworks was like being invited into her memory; or a version of someone’s memory. It was a beautiful and surreal experience that was at once mine and not mine.

Kate’s performance is both mesmerising and hypnotising, at times funny and at times heartbreaking, and it is complemented so perfectly by the use of light and set to create a world that is vague and dreamlike and enthralling. Lighting designer and lighting operators Richard Vabre and Suze Smith build with light from traditional theatre sources as well as using projections and offstage lighting to create the vague, magical mood. Having two separate projections of similar images projected on a angle upwards through the three banners gave a layering effect of images, both clear and sharp, and fuzzy and distorted, and with Kate standing in front of them seemed to place her within the memory, within her dream, within her mind.

Then there was the sound, operated by Michael Havir; layers of voice that synch and clash with what Kate herself is saying, adding detail, removing meaning. Revealing, slowly and gently. Even the freezing cold of the theatre was bearable as we were absorbed into the world of memory.

Venue: Theatreworks, 14 Acland Street, St Kilda
Dates: May 20 – June 1, Tuesday-Saturday 8pm, Sunday 5pm
Price: $25 Full, $20 Concession $20, Groups of 8+ $20
Tickets: www.theatreworks.org.au

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Review: NOA at La Mama

Interesting possibilities end up all at sea

By Myron My

I love it when there is something unique or different about a performance and when we were asked which way we would like to enter the stage, I thought that NOA would be one of those experiences. We could enter the conventional way or go up some stairs, down a ladder and be led to our seats in the dark.

There was much anticipation about what was about to transpire as everyone got seated and the performance began. Unfortunately, for the next 45 minutes I sat there often confused, sometimes uninterested and ultimately left wondering about too many things.

NOA

NOA attempted to look at themes of loss, friendship and survival, yet I struggled to find any definitive moments where any of these were explored. Excluding the last few minutes of the show, we were witness to two siblings (Karen Sibbing and Joshua Ferenbach) playing different characters in short skit-like scenes, including Mike the Magician and his “amazing” 3 cans/2 coins trick but nothing particular came from any of this.

The flimsy plot revolves around Noa and his sister – who live inside a bunker built by Noa and are honing their survival skills for their own experiences. The character development was minimal at best and just when I thought we were going to get some idea as to why these characters were doing what they were doing it went back to the surreal character dress-ups. However I must say the commitment which the performers played their troubled characters was a highlight of NOA.

Eugyeene Teh’s set design was the other highlight. Much time and effort had gone into replicating a bunker and encapsulating its claustrophobic and tight environment. Lighting designer Amelia Lever-Davidson further amplified this sensation with her atmospheric changes from darkness through dullness to dazzling brightness.

Overall and unfortunately, NOA felt contrived and had a level of pretentiousness to it that prevented me from connecting with the piece. I appreciate that theatre should investigate unknown areas and be innovative and explorative but unlike Noah’s Ark, this ship sank very quickly for me.

Venue: La Mama Theatre, 205 Faraday Street St, Carlton

Season: Until 21 December | Tues, Wed, Sun 6:30pm. Thu-Sat 7:30pm

Tickets: $25 Full | $15 Concession

Bookings: http://lamama.com.au