In The Second Sex, French feminist writer Simone de Beauvior asked what is a woman? In DE STROYED, actor Jillian Murray and director Suzanne Chaundy use de Beauvoir's words to present a thoroughly engaging work that explores what it means to be a woman but also what it means to love and to age.
It took months for Murray and Chaundy to read through de Beauvoir's work and create their story. Eventually the script was sourced from eight pieces of de Beauvoir's writing including The Woman Destroyed and The Age of Discretion. One can only imagine the difficulty of finding the right material for the story they wanted to tell. However, the hard work has paid off with this remarkable production.
Murray shows masterful nuance in her role and possesses a great command of the script. Chaundy expertly allows for so much to be expressed in her direction of Murray with minimal movement or action and enabling us to focus on every single word that she speaks. Even with Murray seated for most of the performance, the emotion and movement is controlled but very clear. You can see her vulnerability as her knees go into each other and her clasped hands hang in mid air, hovering just over her lap. Similarly, her determination and endurance is exposed when her feet are firmly planted in place, almost as if they are ready to go into battle.
The set design evokes a sense of confinement but also intimacy as thoughts, desires and regrets are shared with the audience. The two large white square blocks that stand behind Murray - who is dressed entirely in black - create a striking contrast, a feeling that permeates throughout DE STROYED. Video artist Zoe Scoglio has various images projected onto these squares, providing effective visuals aids to support the words.
DE STROYED is a sophisticated piece of theatre that has its audience thinking from the moment Murray first speaks right up until its thoughtful closing moments. Murray and Chaundy's collaboration and their unique approach in exploring de Beauvior's writing is beautifully conceived, resulting in an incredibly absorbing work.
Venue: fortyfive downstairs, 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
Season: Until 27May | Tue- Sat 7:30pm and Sun 5:00pm
Tickets: $40 Full | $35 Conc
Bookings: fortyfive downstairs