Tag: William Ewing

REVIEW: La Mama Presents TRUE LOVE’S SIGHT

A taste of a working Shakespearean reworking

By Myron My

The great thing about La Mama’s Explorations season is that it gives artists the opportunity to present works in various stages of development. It might be the first time it is staged to an audience or a scripted reading. In the case of True Love’s Sight, we see a number of segments from their upcoming immersive theatrical experience.

True Loves Sight

Taking place inside the walls of Athens, the work, created by Michaela Bedel and Nikki Brumen, is inspired by Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. We meet a number of characters from the play, including Theseus, Hermia, Helena, Lysander and Demetrius. William Ewing, Doug Lyons and  Tamzen Hayes do well with their characters and are confident enough in making their interactions with the audience seem genuine and spontaneous.

At one point, Helena grabs three audience members – including myself on the night in question – and takes us into a shed, where she professes her undying love for Demetrius. Helena dictates a poem for me to write, as Demetrius will not read it if it is in her handwriting. It’s an enjoyable few minutes that allows the three audience members to gain special insight into Helena and subsequently Demetrius. My attempt at passing the poem to Demetrius is quite an enjoyable one.

There is potential for True Love’s Sight to be quite a memorable show, however with only 25 minutes of the production’s current material being performed, it is difficult to get a real idea of what its creators’ intentions are or where it is headed. Even ten more minutes would probably have provided some more basic framework and understanding for the audience, for just as we were becoming more involved with the story, it abruptly comes to end.

The one thing that needs to be ensured for successful immersive theatre however is that no matter in what group the audience members end up or what story they experience, they must still be able to piece a general plot and appreciate its intersecting storylines and the motivations of its characters. From what was witnessed in this performance, True Love’s Sight seems to be going down the right path. 

True Love’s Sight was performed at La Mama Theatre between 4 – 6 December.

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REVIEW: The Graduates Present CRUISING PARADISE

Seeking connections and searching for identity

By Myron My

Cruising Paradise

Cruising Paradise by Terence O’Connell takes a number of Sam Shepard’s (American writer, playwright, actor, and television and film director) short prose tales and stages them as a variety of monologues and scenes. Presented by graduates of The National Theatre Drama School in St Kilda and performed at fortyfivedownstairs, the piece is certainly an interesting and ambitious project.

Shepard is well known for creating environments of loss, desolation and solitude in his stories which Cruising Paradise is able to convey, but it is at the loss of allowing the audience to remain fully engaged with the piece. Part of the problem is that too many stories are performed; Shepard’s stories are already so rich and demanding for an audience that it just felt unnecessary to have so many similar stories on stage in such a short time.

Furthermore, there is little differentiation between how the majority of the monologues are delivered, which made it difficult to follow some stories. It’s quite a shame as the cast (Mandie Combe, William Ewing, Camille Meghaizel, Lucy Norton and James Stanistreet) have clearly put significant thought and effort into their roles, with notable mentions going to the more senior members of the company Meghaizel and Combe, who embrace their characters with much gusto.

The stories that did work well were therefore the ones that had the actors interacting with each other in some way or where there was a slight costume change that greatly assisted in distinguishing between different tales. Unfortunately this did not happen throughout the night.

The musical interludes were entertaining to watch and a nice break from all the monologues. The composition by Paul Norton was well-suited to the voices of the three main singers Combe, Ewing and Meghaizel.

Overall, the stories in Cruising Paradise dealt well with themes of lonely people who are looking for a connection, trying to figure out who they are and searching for an identity. I only wish the show itself could (instead of simply drowning us in so many of Shepard’s stories) have had some of that insight and been able to give each tale individuality, while drawing all the pieces into a whole.

Venue: fortyfivedownstairs, 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne

Season: Until 12 May | Tues-Sat 8:00pm, Sun 5:00pm

Tickets: $36 Full | $28 Conc

Bookings: http://www.fortyfivedownstairs.com or 9662 9966