Monday, March 19, 2018

Oedipus Schmoedipus – a quick note.

By post (Zoe Coombs Marr, Mish Grigor and Natalie Rose) Directed By Zoë Coombs Marr and Mish Grigor.  Canberra Theatre. Thurs Mar 15.

This eccentric show probably found its true audience in front of a small group of college kids at a schools matinee.

Reminiscent of a year 8 improvisation that will last all lesson if it is permitted, it started with scenes of gore from the classics, complete with much fake blood. The crew then took forever to clean up the stage to the accompaniment of opera then Mish Gregor and Shelly Lauman of company post went on to ironic discussions and increasingly long sections done by an invited set of locals who worked impressively off autocue.  

Some of this was musings on death.  Some of it was a commentary on theatrical styles and preoccupations and canon.

Moments of beauty arrived – ghosts in the traditional white sheet with eye holes and a surprised ring-in wearing a niqab - as a possible vision of the after life.

The show seemed to be testing out the traditional forms of theatre somewhat like Beckett but without the intensity of feeling and perception. We are not used to seeing this without theatrical tuning up. So we were not altogether sure what it was saying at times.

There are expectations that it should be more conventional. We’re trained to a sense of how long is long enough. But is that part of our cultural theatrical conditioning? There are places in the world where performance starts and stops without reference to western theatre rhythms.

Those college students will have plenty to ruminate on.

Alanna Maclean