The great thing about La Mama's Explorations season, is that it gives artists the opportunity to present works in various stages of development. It might be the first time it is staged to an audience or a scripted reading. In the case of True Love's Sight, we see a number of segments from their upcoming immersive theatrical experience.
Taking place inside the walls of Athens, the work, created by Michaela Bedel and Nikki Brumen, is inspired by Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. We meet a number of characters from the play, including Theseus, Hermia, Helena, Lysander and Demetrius. William Ewing, Doug Lyons and Tamzen Hayes do well with their characters and are confident enough in making their interactions with the audience seem genuine and spontaneous.
At one point, Helena grabs three audience members - including myself on the night in question - and
takes us into a shed, where she professes her undying love for
Demetrius. Helena dictates a poem for me to write, as Demetrius will
not read it if it is in her hand writing. It's an enjoyable few minutes
that allows the three audience members to get inside the head of Helena
and subsequently Demetrius. My attempt at passing the poem to Demetrius
is quite an enjoyable one.
There is potential for True Love's Sight to be quite a memorable show, however with only
25 minutes of the production being performed, it is difficult to get a real idea of
what its creators' intentions are or where it is headed. Even ten more
minutes would have provided some more basic framework and understanding for the audience, for just as we were becoming more involved with the story, it abruptly comes to end.
The one thing that needs to be ensured for successful immersive theatre however is that no matter in what group the audience members end up in or what story people experience, they must still be able to piece the general plot and appreciate its intersecting storylines and the motivations of its characters. From what was witnessed in this performance, True Love's Sight seems to be going down the right path.
True Love's Sight was performed at La Mama Theatre between 4 - 6 December.
* Original review appeared on Theatre Press on 8 December