Sunday, 1 June 2014

Yes/No - Curtin University (1 June 2014)

Curtin University regularly has two One Act plays presented under the banner Sunday Night Theatre in the converted lecture room upstairs at the Hayman Theatre.

The first of these tonight was a self-devised piece that explored Fear. An unnamed woman (Rebecca Fowler) battles her demons and doubts with a “raven” perched on her shoulder. She awakes to find Fight (Ariel Tresham), Flight (Holly Dodd), Endure (Aaron Smith) and Undermine (Sean Guastavino) fighting to be the dominant force in her life… or is it all just in her head?

This is a high energy piece incorporating dance and stylised fighting between the different impulses with the use of a bongo drum and vibrant lighting giving the play a real kinetic feel. Fowler is literally torn between these opposing forces as different scenarios are explored – the drunk on the train who demands the shoes from a fellow passenger who meekly agrees in the first instance (flight) but when the scene is reprised chooses to fight which doesn’t end well for him either.

Fowler’s character at one stage has a lovely ‘courtship’ with Smith’s only to renege as they walk down the aisle. Characters narrate from the sideline and in this case tell us the figures about domestic violence against women, a prevalent fear unfortunately in this day and age. The characters also interact with the audience asking them to name their own fears before Fowler recites a list that includes rejection, loneliness and various others.

I really liked the energy in this piece and especially the ending where Fowler’s character states that her greatest fear is that she will stop trying. In an age where there is seemingly so much to be fearful of this was a poignant statement to end the play on.

The space is well used with the actors entering and exiting from various points and yes, I didn’t even realise I sat next to the lead in the front row before the play began! Talking to one of the actors afterwards this took 7-8 weeks with two rehearsals a week to develop. I found it an interesting exploration of what stops us growing and moving forward and maybe how a lot of this is indeed in our head.

Directed by Savannah Wood with Dramaturgy by Amy Johnston.

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