That was Friday. A House of Sand and Belco Arts Co-production.
Director and Co-creator: Charley Sanders. Choreographer and Co-creator: Eliza Sanders. Writer and Co-creator: Jack Sullivan. Performer and Co creator: Amrit Tohari Agamemnoian. Video designer Laura Turner and Mario Spaete. Associate video designer Susie Henderson and Morgan Moroney. Lighting designer Tony Black. Costume designer Monique Bartosh. Company and stage manager Dr. Anni Doyle Wawrzynczak. Cast: Enya Daley, Lachlan Martin and Sara Zwangobani. Dancer and videographer: Alec Katsourakis. Billy Keohavong, Ryan Douglas Stone, Jareen Wee, Ella Williams. Belconnen Arts Centre. November 23,25 and 26. 2023.
Reviewed by Peter Wilkins
House of Sand brings their latest foray into multi disciplinary performance to Belconnen Theatre for a regrettably short season. In keeping with Belco Arts’ philosophy to programme new and innovative works, House of Sand’s That Was Friday is highly visceral, thoroughly engaging and deeply personal. “That Was Friday is about identity and belonging” actor Sara Zwangobani tells the audience at the commencement of Part 3 Beginnings. Interestingly, the final part of the four part experience, preceded by Prologue, Family and Society is a time of deep reflection, casting our minds back to the separation of family members that compelled us to resort to Zoom during the Pandemic and the longing for personal contact by a Mother (Sara Zwangobani), her daughter Eliza (Enya Daly) and her son Jack (Lachlan Martin)
|Sara Zwangobani as Mother in That Was Friday|
But it is Turkish Armenian Amrit Tohari Agamemnoian’s videoed telling of his family’s struggles that sheds a powerful awareness of a searing global pain. Genocide has murdered millions of his people, destroying that vital connection of belonging and driving them away from family, society, culture and identity. It is the cruel consequence of displacement, made even more terrifying for a trans person whose very identity could result in a society’s sentence of death.
|Enya Daly as Eliza in That Was Friday|
That Was Friday is collaborative theatre at its most honest, most revealing and beautifully performed by a professional company that share a common bond, the need to be true to themselves, to understand the role of family, the need to fly, the desire to return and sometimes the struggle to survive in a society that does not understand.
|Lachlan Martin as Jack in That Was Friday|
That was Friday runs for about two and a half hours with a short break and a fifteen minute interval. In time it may be tightened and the dance sequences made less repetitive . Although I may have preferred the evening to have been shorter and tighter, I wished the season could have been longer so that more people could experience the extraordinary talents and the unique and absorbing theatrical experiment that I witnessed on a Friday night at the Belconnen Arts Centre. That Was Friday.
Photography by Lorna Sim