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?

Nick: What?

Molly: On the floor? You know that expansion foam you insulate with?

Nick: Yeah…

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.

Molly: Handmade.

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.

By Pelican Magazine

Pelican is one of the oldest student publications in Australia and the only independent paper at UWA. If you enjoy writing, then Pelican is the place for you! We print six themed issues a year, and run a stream of online content.

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