Urban Theatre Projects and the Centenary Of Canberra
The Courtyard, Canberra Theatre Centre 17-27 July, 2013
Review by Len Power 17 July 2013
2013 has given us the opportunity to see some unique works inspired by the Centenary Of Canberra. ‘Catalogue Of Dreams’ has been specifically devised for the centenary by Urban Theatre Projects.
According to the program, Urban Theatre Projects, a theatre company based at the Bankstown Arts Centre, produces theatre works based on a process of conversation between contemporary theatre practice and diverse communities. In ‘Catalogue Of Dreams’, the company has developed a performance that highlights issues surrounding child homelessness in Canberra.
Co-directors, Rosie Dennis and Alicia Talbot, have produced a startling and unique look at a confronting urban problem. The performance space in the Courtyard Studio has been utilized very well and the whole show seems to spring from the clever production design by Imogen Keen and the imaginative lighting design by Daniel McCusker.
This is a production about issues rather than character and story. There is very little spoken dialogue onstage and long sections of voice over dialogue accompany the onstage activity, creating a dream-like, almost surreal, atmosphere. The ensemble cast of seven do a fine job performing the various sequences which appear to represent their individual memories.
The staging is quite imaginative, using props and sound to great effect and, surprisingly, the space’s entrance and exit doors. However, the intention behind the two sequences with music was obscure and some of the voice over dialogue seemed longer than necessary at times.
This is a production to make you think and its strength is in the way it is done. Its running time might be short but there are a lot of good things here to experience and stretch your imagination.
Originally broadcast on Artsound FM 92.7 ‘Dress Circle’ program on Sunday 21 July 2013