Tag Archives: King Street Theatre

Who Do You See?

11 Sep

We call them audiences. Not spectators.  Listening matters in the theatre.

Who Do You See? further privileges sound by eliminating pretty much everything else. The whole play is performed in the dark.  There’s a subtle scentscape (coffee, lotion) but the focus becomes almost entirely on what you can hear.

Writer Gavin Roach has cleverly crafted five interlocking contemporary stories. Director Sarah Vickery elicits engaging vocal performances from her actors – David Griffiths, Emma Jones, Suz Mawer, Jack Michel, and Christian O’Connor.

Who Do You See

Who Do You See? is an intriguing title. The implication is that we’ll attempt to imagine the unseen individuals telling the tales.

But the experience actually opens up to something more fascinating and thought provoking.

The stories are simple and gentle, and span only a brief period in the character’s lives. Roach wonderfully captures the minutiae. Life under a microscope.

Ever put a piece of yourself under a microscope? What you see is no longer you. Self hood is an optical illusion, created by distance. Too close, or too far, and we disappear.

Roach’s intriguingly precise observation creates an effect that is somewhat existential rather than essential. It is as though we’re exploring Being; the space in which we experience being human, as against something particular and personal. This effect is further enhanced by Roach’s decision to have the actors tell the character’s stories in third person.

Self as illusion?

Our self – the individual who of our existence – is also like our shadow. It’s entirely forgotten at our best moments; becoming invisible when we look to the light. It also ceases to exist when we’re plunged into total darkness.

At other times, it shrinks and it grows. But it is never us.

Veronica Kaye

Who Do You See?

King Street Theatre Sun and Mon til 23 Sept

http://2013.sydneyfringe.com/event/theatre/who-do-you-see

Romeo and Juliet

1 Aug

Passion is about me. Politics is about us.

George Bernard Shaw famously took issue with Shakespeare, arguing that the bard’s politics were naïve.

And consider Romeo and Juliet. Shakespeare gives no explanation for the feud between the families. He makes the unlikely assertion that the warring groups are equal in strength. And the long lasting feud suddenly ends when the older generation realizes something that must have always been apparent – that it was harming the young. I can understand where GBS was coming from. This is not a play about politics.

It’s a play about passion. The purpose of the political context is to show us that the young lovers will risk all to be together. (Without some sort of impediment, desire is not a story.) Their decisions are rash and ill advised. If Othello is a tragedy of jealousy, and Macbeth of ambition, Romeo and Juliet is a tragedy of impulsiveness.

Photo by Eva Kiss

Photo by Eva Kiss

Rainee Lyleson as Juliet and Dan Webber as Romeo do a wonderful job of creating the two lovers, overwhelmed by passions greater than they have known. But a particular pleasure is watching these two actors develop these characters. They begin as almost children, but in the final third of the play, after they are separated, we watch them negotiate the world, no longer merely as excitable adolescents, but as adults who know that desire is but one aspect of life. As an example, Romeo’s dealings with the apothecary of Mantua are those of a man who desperately feels his own circumstances, but still has insight into the lives of others. Shakespeare’s famous, final, absurd scene counters this growing maturity – but that, I guess, is his point. Passion is powerful.

Director Stephen Wallace gets good performances from his entire cast. Byron Hajduczok as Mercutio and Rob Baird as Benvolio are eminently watchable. Alan Faulkner as Peter the servant, the prince, the apothecary and the prologue is superbly versatile. Adam Hatzimanolis gives a terrific portrait of the gloriously varied Capulet.

Much discussion of this production will centre on the decision to set it in the world of the Cronulla riots. I don’t think the play is political. Am I saying this decision is a mistake? Not all. It’s this sort of decision that opens up a play, making us revisit, and reconsider.

Shakespeare gave us a controversial play. It’s only fitting that our productions of our it are equally thought provoking.

Veronica Kaye

Romeo and Juliet

at King Street Theatre until 24 August

http://www.kingstreettheatre.com.au/romeo-and-juliet/

 

Into the Mirror

25 Nov

Each of us is in the process of becoming.

And that’s glorious.

And frightening.

So we attempt to define ourselves; to have something, in all the flux, to hold on to.

But, in our definitions, we tend to look backwards. We base who we are on who we’ve been.

And we were born male or female. In all the confusion of life, that’s one certainty. To be held tight.

Photo by Pat Carter

But, of course, it’s not. We are all both woman and man. In each of us is all of us.

Life is the tussle between certainty and potential, between security and possibility. Yesterday’s claims fight Tomorrow’s hopes, forever in the battlefield of Today.

Into the Mirror tells the story of a woman transitioning to a man. Shelly Wall’s script is thought provoking and sensitively explores this courageous choice.

Wall directs, drawing strong work from her cast. Penny Day as Kendall in the process of transitioning captures a fragile confidence. Helen Stuart and Amber Robinson give beautifully nuanced performances.

In this tale it is Kendall’s daughter who struggles most with her mother’s choice. Why won’t people just stay in the boxes we put them in? Oh, they will. One day. And we’ll desperately wish it otherwise. For only the living are maddeningly irrepressible.

This production is a beautiful plea for acceptance. For a truly open society, it’s theatre we need to have.

Veronica Kaye

Into the Mirror

King Street Theatre until 16 Dec

http://www.kingstreettheatre.com.au/