I received a couple of tickets to Unrule at the Blue Room Theatre for helping to move a bath with my brother’s ute. I took my friend Molly along and we talked about it approximately 45 minutes following, over snacks. The following is a transcript of our thoughts of the performance, recorded 8:46pm, 6/6/19.
Nick: (crunches spicy peanut) Walking in, the set design was —
Molly: A lot.
Nick: — exquisite. I thought it was just enough. I mean, I knew plenty going into the show, I knew what it was about [women’s health], but to set it in a bathroom, I think was a stroke of genius. Maybe just from my very shallow assessment of … but it’s where the shit goes down, right? (laughs)
Molly: No, yeah I love that. The aesthetics were super-quirky, a lil’ bit daggy.
Nick: But there was such detail!
Molly: Yeah the small things! There was that candlestick on our table, and underneath, that hair was fanned around it on the surface of the table.
Nick: Like perfectly. Oh, thank you — (receives bubble tea)
Molly: Thank you! (sound of plastic wrapper being blown off straw, into Molly’s face) Oh thanks.
Nick: You’re welcome. (laughs) I used to get my lil’ brother like that so good. Everytime, he’d always – he’d never expect it.
Molly: Mm..? (offers bubble tea)
Nick: Oh thank you. Mm..? (offers spicy peanut)
Molly: Mm. No I loved it. (crunches spicy peanut) I was… comfortable? Like walking in I was immediately just — agh (in a relieved tone). And, it seemed very thought-out.
Nick: They got the tone just right, you mean?
Molly: Yeah. It seemed just like a safe space, with all the stuff piled in – kinda like a lived-in space. But intricately thought-out, like with all the foam bits on the bottom and they had rings, and, earbuds and stuff poked in them. Did you see that?
Molly: On the floor? You know that expansion foam you insulate with?
Molly: — and it was on the floor, and there was jewellery and rings and, tampons and earbuds sticking out.
Nick: I didn’t notice that at all! Like on the floor… underneath us?
Molly: No, like next to the stairs, and under the bath.
Nick: Weird. I didn’t take note of that. It may be a bit obvious, bit broad, but the design had that Wes Anderson vibe. Crafted with care, but lived-in.
Nick: It was a real great case of show-don’t-tell when it comes to homespun remedies, y’know. That kinda vibe – matrilineal – oral – knowledge, y’know, and trying to reclaim it from patriarchal shame. Like in terms of the witches from Macbeth bit, that was some of the most inspired stuff I think.
Molly: Yeah, a bit of a modern twist. And, the whole werewolf thing?
Nick: Oh, you mean the wifwolf.
Molly: Yeah, wif-wolf.
Nick: Wif-wolf. (laughs) I now pronounce ye were and wif.
Molly: (laughs) And yeah, sorry to keep going on about set stuff but I wouldn’t have put so much hair, up the top.
Nick: As in, off the chandeliers?
Molly: No like on the walls. At the back, and if they could’ve coloured the walls a light pink or white, like in a dreamscape, would’ve really served the show well. Nick: I agree, the theatre black was pretty stark, but I liked the lengths they went to to put those bathroom tiles on the walls.
Molly: But no, they did well, and for such a tiny space. Four actors onstage most of the time, in such a space —
Nick: Yeah made that little joke about it, when they strode from one side to the other, crept back, did it again (laughs).
Molly: Very silly.
Nick: There was some very silly, daggy humour.
Molly: (sucks on bubble tea) ugh that’s not sago…
Nick: That’s not Sega?
Molly: No, sago.
Nick: oh, I thought you said Sega, like talking about the live-action Sonic The Hedgehog film — (they talk about the new Sonic The Hedgehog film)
Molly: Christ. And so they should, they should take that back.
Nick: (laughs) …I liked how little lovey-dovey, y’know, how little a sense of softness, or rather weakness there was, in the show [Unrule]. There was honest emotion, and there was vulnerability, but no-one there was — everyone there was coming at it from a position of strength, you know? And there were all these distinct personas, like monstrous, or silly, or —
Molly: Yeah, or severe —
Nick: Yeah, severe or even just the dead seriousness of sitting in the doctor’s office.
Molly: And I loved when they were doing monologues, instead of clearing the stage the others would stay and watch, or otherwise do their own thing —
Nick: They would reside onstage, and that kinda broke down a lot of barriers for me, made me less self-conscious. It even felt strange that we were all sitting there so quietly.
Molly: It was a pretty quiet bunch, no yahoos.
Nick: There weren’t many guffaws, or tee-hees either.
Molly: Was it a comedy?
Nick: It was definitely silly.
Molly: I wouldn’t even know how to pin that kind of humour, and oh when they were using that gibberish!
Nick: Oh you mean the yeeebadabadabada — (they speak in gibberish for half a minute) — I liked that a lot, I wanted to join in. And that’s the thing! I found it strange to be seeing something like that in the grave silence of a small theatre, y’know.
Molly: Yeah, feel something like that should happen in, I dunno, the living room. For such serious topics the treatment was really childish. Women, talking about very, very serious shit, were acting like young girls, like children.
Nick: Yeah, and that’s what I mean when I say (motorbike revs loudly) — children aren’t soft, you know? They’re not cutesy and soft, and vulnerable usually, they’re full of energy.
Molly: — and honest.
Nick: — and honest, and firm and steadfast in a way… and silly!
Molly: I feel like it’s a special kind of show that can draw out such a nuanced, kinda persona from each of these actors.
Nick: Agreed. Very much recommended, this show. I’d give it 4 out of 5.
Words by Nick Mortlet and his friend Molly. Unrule plays until the 15th of June. You can get tickets here.