I entered Girls School to view the latest offering from Australian- Austrian art behemoth ART IN PROCESS, STORMWATER, much like how I entered my own school; in rows of two and excited for the day to begin.
But again, much like my own experiences of school, I was left confused. Maybe it was my own fault. But I’m not entirely sure.
Set to a beautiful and delicate soundscape composed by writer and director of the show, Bello Benischauer, STORMWATER tells the tale of a family preparing for the end of the world in their garage as they discuss heartbreaking secrets of sibling incest and general family betrayal.
As described by the writer, the intention of these discussions were to inform a wider conversation about societal taboos including, “gender inequality, diversity, cultural tolerance” (sic) it fell short of being anything more than a massive missed high five.
Comparing homosexuality to sibling incest felt uncomfortable, not controversial, even if your all-woman cast move so beautifully around the space in the most post-narrative theatre of ways.
While perhaps not intended, I was left feeling like the message was that because homosexuality is a societal taboo as is incest, it is the same. I’m not comfortable with that message.
Take away all the misgivings in terms of intentions and message, this play didn’t do anything too outstanding or new in the realm of post-narrative-esque plays. Especially given ART IN PROCESS’ hailing of their own term of ‘Existence Theatre’ which felt like a different name for the same post-modern theatre practises of breaking the fourth wall, abstract projections of words onto walls, and carefully-crafted lighting silhouettes.
I will admit, while I didn’t quite gel with what was going on, it did look pretty.
I left Girls School feeling confused as to how I should be feeling, but one glance at a fellow audience’s members face affirmed me in ways nothing else could.
I believe all of my feelings can be summarised from a conversation overheard walking through the Perth Train Station.
“What the hell is going on?”
STORMWATER runs for another week at Girls School. Tickets are $36 and you can get them here.
2 uncomfortable audience interactions out of 5
Words by Sophie Minissale // @sophieminissale
Sophie was going to leave Pelican after her Editorship in 2019, until they asked her to come back to still be involved.
2020 Editor Stirling can confirm Sophie is a godsend theatre-reviewing genius.
Image courtesy of FRINGE WORLD Festival.
Woodside Petroleum is a principal sponsor of FRINGE WORLD Festival. Pelican has been a long-time supporter of the Festival, and will continue to show its support. However, the Magazine feels it is unethical for Woodside Petroleum to remain a principal sponsor of FRINGE WORLD, given the current climate emergency, and Woodside’s ongoing contribution to climate change.
Other Festivals have demonstrated that ethical sources of funding are possible – you can read more, and sign the petition, here: https://www.change.org/p/fringeworld-side-with-the-climate-and-drop-woodside-petroleum // #fossilfreefringe #fossilfreearts // Arts and Cultural Workers for Climate Action