Devised, directed and performed by third year Performance Making students as the final independent project of their degree, the West Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) presented an episodic mini festival of incredibly experimental, innovative and thought-provoking original works.
Split across two programs, the first featured four pieces and began with The Colony by Emily De Margheriti, Daniel Dosek and Adrienne Patterson. Donned in grey jumpsuits and living in underground tunnels like ants, the three comprise a sanitation crew responsible for washing a futuristic colony’s uniforms. Conjuring this Socialist worker’s utopia with limited props, their “work for today, in service of tomorrow” is interrupted when Colony Member D589 (Patterson) goes missing. Squabbling and bickering with great chemistry, Dosek and De Margheriti loyally go searching for their friend on the mysterious upper levels. Reminiscent of both Brave New World and The Island, the original score by Alex Turley is integral to the excellence of this piece. An eclectic composition of sounds, it perfectly captured the oppressive atmosphere of the narrative.
To segue between each of the performances, the audience was treated to snippets of Ryan Marano marauding as a drunk Italian stage hand. Spouting Shakespeare quotes and taking slugs from a hip flask, ‘Galindo’ was a solid character. The work, titled The Disposable, was a suitable interlude facilitating smooth transitions between disparate works that would otherwise have been jarring.
Clare Thomson’s work Remnant was another short vignette. Wailing and sniffling, her overly expressive facial movements were expertly comic as she embodied a would-be bride seemingly abandoned on her wedding day. As she paced back and forth, dragging onstage a number of boxes filled with the object symbols of her ‘special’ day – the dress, the ring, a music box- her wordless, physical performance was fascinating.
Following intermission, Salacia Briggs, Hollie Hines, Indigo Keane, Chloe McGrath, James McMillan and Morgan Owen presented Paradise – the final, longest, and most intriguing work of the evening. Garbed in tight active wear, faces painted ghastly white with rosy red cheeks, they crowded around a treadmill. Tittering and murmuring fake nothings to one another, they clawed and fought each other for time on the treadmill to crow about the importance of having great teeth, great hair, great skin. Each then sought solace, forgiveness and closure as they peeled back the fake veneer to reveal the festering corruption underneath, confessing to a range of sins and crimes – including home wrecking, banging their pet and manslaughter. Scored with a perky disco soundtrack perfectly jarring and at odds with the piece, it concluded when Hines’ character nearly has a real moment, but she quickly closes up before she can experience a catharsis.
Thematically loaded, these passionate theatre-makers attempt to comment on human nature and our emotionality in a variety of different ways, making for an engaging evening of theatre.
Words by Samuel J. Cox
TILT – Program Two runs at The Blue Room Theatre 7 -10 September.