An intimate and participatory performance, Memory Bones saw the WA Academy of Performing Arts’ (WAAPA) 2nd Year Performance Making students permeate His Majesty’s Theatre.
Beginning in the downstairs spaces, the students guided groups (in-character) on a journey through the nooks and crannies in and around the iconic building. Venturing from medical examinations on camp stretchers in the Orchestra Rehearsal Room to be regaled by the stories of ‘Tip-Toe Corridor’ and beyond, this site-specific production pulled back the curtain on the back-of-house secrets of this 1904-built Edwardian theatre.
A promenade-style production, the audience’s walk was interspersed with vignette performances along the way – Isaac Diamond, Tim Boulton and Mitchell Whelan’s experiment in movement in the Ballet Studio; the stories of a ’20s Flapper (Imogen Flint), ’60s Go-Go Dancer (Naomi Fogliani), and ’90s Grunge Poet (Ravenna Bouckaert) in the Dress Circle Foyer; Megan Hunter and Alexander Beard as warring conductors in the darkened Orchestra Dressing Room, and so on.
Directed and conceived by James Berlyn, the concept piece explored the notion that the physical structures of the theatre might somehow remember the artists, technicians, critics and audiences that it has borne witness to in 112 years of operation. An interesting concept and rare theatre experience, the work scratched at the surface and toyed with this intriguing theme, but was never able to capture a clear look at this ethereal idea, despite strong performances from the cast of twenty-one.
Taking over the stately, living relic, the performance successfully imbued the venue with a sense of play, and made for an enchanting and stimulating evening at the theatre.
Words by Samuel J. Cox
Memory Bones ran at His Majesty’s Theatre this October.