Saturday 24 November 2018

Die! Die! Die! Old People Die! review

Violet and Norman are a 120 year old couple. While their lives might not be as fast paced as they once were, the love and affection they share for each other is still going strong. Presented by UK theatre company, Ridiculusmus, Die! Die! Die! Old People Die! is an exploration of dying and grieving performed by Jon Haynes and David Woods.

The couple appear at the far back corner of the room. A round table and two chairs are placed on top of a circular rug in the front of the space. A chandelier hangs from the ceiling. It takes roughly ten minutes for Violet and Norman to walk over and sit down on the chairs. The physicality Haynes and Woods portray with these characters is skilful and dedicated, but patience quickly wears thin with this show.

Saturday 17 November 2018

vigil/wake review

One indisputable fact is that we are all going to die. No matter how virtuous we are, how healthy we may be or how intelligent we are, we will not escape death. Yet for something that is so definite, we are constantly surprised by or ill-prepared for death. Presented as part of Arts House's Mere Mortals season exploring death, Peta Murray's vigil/wake is a pair of works that has us questioning what we know about death and how we remember those who have died.

The first part, vigil is delivered as an illustrated lecture with Murray presenting facts and statistics on death in a relaxed and personable nature. The six audience members are seated around Murray and an empty made-up hospital bed. We are informed of various facts to do with death; the biggest killer of men in their 20s and 30s is suicide and the older we get, the higher the risk of heart attacks ending us becomes. As Murray explains the various ways in which 95% of Australians are not prepared for their final days, such as having unwritten wills or not having a playlist for their funeral, she also shares her stories of her mother dying ten years ago, thus allowing us to connect on a deeper level with what Murray is saying and to then relate it back to our own experiences and preparedness with death.

Forest Collective Gala Performance review

With a number of performances under its belt this year, including fluttering hearts // thinking machines and Nico: Songs They Never Played on the Radio, Forest Collective have continued with their reinterpretation and reimagining of chamber music and adapting it to suit the various themes and styles of their concerts. For their final show for 2018, Forest Collective's Gala performance consisted of nine pieces with a number of Australian and world premieres. 

Caroline Louise Miller's Reductionism Is A Dirty Word (2016) opens the night with Kim Tan (bass flute), Bec Scully (double bass) and Danae Killian (piano) taking the unique elements of their instrument and seeing how altering the way they play it changes the dynamics between musician and instrument and as a group.

Friday 9 November 2018

The Hamlet Apocalypse review

The end of the world is nigh. In fact, it is just mere hours away. But for seven people there is something more pressing at hand. These seven actors have come together for one final time to stage Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Eventually what is fiction and what is reality is not as clear as it once was as the group attempts to accept what is happening outside while remaining committed to their last rehearsal and to their roles.

As Hamlet's story unfolds, links are made between the tale and the actors' personal lives that are impossible to ignore, and everything begins to slowly and painfully unravel. The ensemble - Chris Beckey, Katrina Cornwell, Nicole Harvey, Thomas Hutchins, Polly Sará, Peta Ward and Mitch Wood - deliver utterly engrossing performances as the actors in the play and as the characters within the play of the play. They find nuanced balanced of showing the truth of both their characters and highlighting the similarities and differences to who they are playing.

The Infirmary review

There comes a point in life where it all ends. Life ends. While there are many theories as to what happens to us when we die, nothing is certain about what happens when we have breathed our final breath. Presented as part of Arts House's Mere Mortals season on death and all its facets, The Infirmary is a live art immersive experience designed to leave you questioning your death and what inevitably awaits us.

This is the first part of Triage Live Art Collective's Death Trilogy and in The Infirmary, we are prepared for our death and live through our final hours. This intimate show for a small number of participants begins with individuals being triaged by a clinical nurse. Once formally admitted, we are guided through a hospital corridor and numerous hospital rooms. Despite the movement that is occurring with the various nurses getting their "patients" comfortable, there is a quietness and stillness to my surroundings that I find immediately soothing.