Monday, October 27, 2014

Where I End & You Begin

Written by: Cathy Petocz
Directed by: Caroline Stacey
The Street Theatre
18 - 26 October 2014
Reviewed by Samara Purnell

What parts of us are originally our own? What idiosyncrasies and traits have we absorbed from past relationships? Who are we, really? Where do I end and where do you begin? Perhaps we will find an answer here, perhaps not.

This play, "Where I End & You Begin", written by Canberran Cathy Petocz, explores these questions. Petocz was inspired to write the play after the unsettling realisation that her laugh had become a replica of her ex-lover's laugh.

Under the guise of a detective investigation, Polly, Hazel, Timothy and the aptly named Whatshisname begin, or perhaps continue, their seemingly timeless quests to find a missing person, and a missing memory, ultimately leading back to themselves, each other and their relationships. It’s as if they are compelled outside of their own volition, to undertake this search and piece it all together.

There were poignant and hard-hitting moments amongst a jumble of emotions, sentences, thoughts and actions. But it took a little while and some personally familiar sentiments and incidences before it was possible to suspend the search for anything complete or linear and just go with the flow.

The characters’ interactions, fuelled by frustration, affection, and infatuation, hurt and hate drift over the audience, who are left to pick out the bits that resonate, as some of it really doesn't seem to make much sense and added to the overall feeling of a disjointed internal monologue.

The ethereal staging saw the actors perform primarily on a raised bed of white fur, with groups of white bags arranged overhead to look like drifting clouds. Director Caroline Stacey made good use of the theatre space, whilst seating the audience on stage, amongst the action. Visually this production was impressive. A spliced, creative and multifaceted soundscape, designed by Kimmo Vennonen effectively filled the space.

The women (Kate Hosking as Polly and Ylaria Rogers as Hazel), had slightly more developed characters and performed with more energy than Raoul Craemer and Dylan van den Berg as Whatshisname and Timothy, respectively. Two stories unfolding concurrently, one set in outerspace, presented a challenge for the actors in the exact timing of lines and matching up of movements but overall this was well done. Kabu-Okai Davies played Emmanuel, a Morgan Freeman-esque overseer, presumably to somehow link the stories together although the reason for his involvement is not entirely clear.

The last ten minutes of the performance literally brought it back down to earth, and could have been omitted so as the play ended on a more surreal and visually dramatic note.

“Where I End & You Begin” could leave you analysing your own nuances, missing a lover, reminiscing on self and relationships and how we are never completely insulated from our interactions with each other or it may leave you wondering what on earth (or in space) you’ve just seen.

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