Tag: Tom Davies

Melbourne Fringe 2016: DION

Compelling ‘drive-by’ theatre

By Myron My

Dion. Oh Dion. Why’d you go and break my heart? That’s what writer/director Davina Wright explores in the new immersive piece by Gold Satino for Melbourne Fringe Festival, aptly titled Dion. It’s business as usual here, as three audience members jump in the back of the Honda Jazz and are driven around the outskirts of North Melbourne in what can be called an epic “fuck off” homage to exes.

Dion.png

What I really enjoyed throughout Dion is the juxtaposition of being connected with the show yet witnessing distant and detached vignettes. The performers (Tamiah Bantum, Ross de Winter, Lachlan McColl, Cazz Bainbridge, Xavier O’Shanessy and Wright) all exude this feeling that they are living in their own world and generally void of any emotion but the connectivity felt with the subject and the scenes that play out paint a completely different picture. The exploration of first kisses, last kisses, fleeting moments, broken hearts and heartache; they are all experiences we’ve had and something we can all relate to.

The beauty of Gold Satino productions is that all scenes are open to interpretation: you give meaning and value to what you are seeing. Who these people are, where they have come from, where will they go? – it all depends on what you want to happen and how you choose to seen it.

As you keep an eye out for what is part of the show, you begin to notice a lot more people out in the streets that could easily be in the world of Dion. One particular example in last night’s drive is the elderly couple out walking their two dogs, which formed a comforting contrast to the sadness Dion is exploring.

The show runs on a very tight schedule, timed to the second no doubt, and from an audience perspective, there is not a single glitch. Speculating on the logistics of how the performers manage to get around so quickly and be in the scene before the Jazz even approaches is like guessing how David Copperfield made the Statue of Liberty disappear.

The sound design by Tom Davies is a balanced mix of love anthems such as Billy Ocean’s “Love Really Hurts Without You”, and a poignant soundscape that captures the moods of scenes perfectly, such as the ocean sounds we hear as we witness one performer crying alone in their car.

It’s a shame that the opportunity of seeing Dion is limited to three people per show (and is now a sold-out season at that) as Gold Satino is a company producing performance works that more people should be seeing. But perhaps that’s part of the plan. If everyone got to see what happens behind the closed doors or in the dark alleys, would the emotive and evocative insight that Dion offers be as effective?

SOLD OUT SEASON
Venue:
Fringe Hub steps – Arts House, 521 Queensberry Street, North Melbourne, 3051
Season: Until 1 October | Tues – Sat 7pm, 8pm, 9pm, 10pm
Length: 60 minutes
Tickets: $31 Full | $25 Conc | $21 Cheap Tuesday
Bookings: MelbourneFringe Festival

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REVIEW: Tamara Saulwick’s PUBLIC

Daring theatre – in a food court

By Myron My

We all do it. We do it all the time no matter where we are. We watch – ever so subtly, so as to not to be spotted. But what happens when the art of people-watching is brought to the surface? What happens when a seemingly private moment is made public?

Public

As part of the Big West Festival, Tamara Saulwick has created a unique and insightful theatrical experience. Appropriately called Public, the show takes places in the food court of Highpoint Shopping Centre. Provided with a pair of headphones, the twenty “audience members” disperse amongst the patrons of the food court and watch for the performance to begin.

There are snippets of conversation being played out, and it sounds as if the voices are coming from all around you. And then, out of nowhere, I spot a man (Tom Davies) who doesn’t quite appear to belong. His movements are far slower and his gestures more grand than anyone else and I wonder why I hadn’t seen him earlier. Davies is joined by three others performers (Rachel Dyson-McGregor, Nicola Gunn, Diana Nguyen) and we begin to watch and listen as their conversations go from private to public. The performers’ conversations are played out into our headphones, so even though we are not sitting next to them, we can hear every word they are saying.

There are a variety of performances and audiences occurring with Public. We are watching the actors, as are the non-audience members. We are also watching the non-audience members’ reactions to the actors and you can see them subtly trying to glance in their direction and then whisper to their friend about the “strange person” nearby. I also began to feel myself being watched by the non-audience members once they realized that we, the people with the headphones, were somehow involved with what was happening.

It was interesting to unwittingly be “on show”, and without having the ability to communicate or share my experience with anyone whilst Public was occurring, I went through a range of emotions including sadness and a feeling of emptiness that slowly enveloped me. This does not mean I did not enjoy the show, but very much the opposite for allowing me to experience such thoughts and feelings without telling me what I should be feeling.

Despite not being the easiest location to get to, Saulwick’s Public is definitely worth a trip out to Highpoint. This sort of innovative theatre does not happen often, and this is an intriguing and involving experience.

Venue: Riverbank Food Court, Highpoint Shopping Centre, Maribyrnong

Season: Until 1 December | Fri, 5:30pm and 7:30pm, Sat-Sun 2:00pm and 4:00pm

Tickets: $25 Full | $15 Conc