Reviewed by Brendan Dias

She’s Terribly Greedy is all about choice and potential. Potential is limited by choice – or is it? Is it the paralysis that is brought upon by having too much choice that makes someone squander their potential? The play’s protagonist, Ellenore Stevens, feels at twenty-years-old that she is at the start of a new phase of life: adult life. The prospect of all the different things she could be: a lawyer, doctor, actor, activist, or writer excites her. Except, how can she have any of those things if she can’t even bring herself to finish her degree? And beyond that, why should she only think of her future self in terms of professional qualifications? After all, she is so much more than what she does for a job. She throws good parties, where she loves playing twister and being whisked up and flipped around by drunk strangers. All night long, her speakers play banger after banger, as they shuffle their way through well-curated playlists, borne out of her exquisite taste in dance music. Why does her infinite self, have to be whittled down into a limited little figurine by the needs of society?

It all starts when Ellenore is asked the age-old question that is well past its shelf-life: ‘Where do you see yourself in five years?’

This seemingly standard, simple query is what causes her to spiral into a funnel of self-doubt and anxiety; like when someone you are only mildly acquainted with asks you how you are, and you’re not good, but you lie and say that you are just so you don’t have to get into the reasons why- which causes you to question whether you are an honest person, and if you are judging yourself too harshly, etc. ad infinitum.

Different actors take up the mantle of exploring different aspects of Elennore’s persona, all delivering nuanced performances that explore a variety of emotional states; from jovial, to sombre, to downright powerful. The show is overlaid throughout with a thoughtful and dynamic soundtrack that adapts to match the mood on stage. Prop usage is minimalist but deliberate. Three full-length portrait mirrors on wheels are multipurpose. In one scene they are the lenses through which Ellenore examines her past, future, and present selves; through some crafty manipulation in the next scene, they represent a train carriage. The actors are clad in black but armed with a store of colourful clothes that they are constantly trying on, being dissatisfied with, and taking off. How can Ellenore make such big decisions about her career, or whether to have children or not, when she can’t even choose what outfit she wants to wear?

On a more personal note, I have to say that this play really resonated with me. It reminded me of a Norwegian film I had seen recently called The Worst Person in the World, mainly because of the protagonists. They both are academically intelligent; enough to be accepted into highly selective university courses like medicine and law, but neither feels a strong sense of purpose or calling for either. They could study these courses because it would be an appropriate fulfilment of their potential, but they are simply not interested in them. Of a similar age to both protagonists, I too struggled and continue to struggle with these same dilemmas that involve my choices and future. Watching this play made me feel a little bit less alone or weird. Everyone overthinks things, everyone has anxieties, and that’s what the play made me notice most of all: it’s not just me.

 

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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