‘This Silent Thing’ was co-devised by an ensemble of Curtin Theatre Arts students, their guest Artist-In-Residence, award winning performer, Margi Brown Ash, and Theatre Arts senior lecturer, Leah Mercer. Margi also is a well-known Brisbane counsellor that specialises in skill and character development.
This Curtin Theatre Arts’ and the Hayman Theatre Company’s 60-minute Winter production, can be seen at the new Hayman Theatre (building 302) with curtain-up nightly at 7.00 pm until Saturday 4th August.
To find this new theatre, enter Curtin University’s grounds from Manning Road, and then turn right at first roundabout. Go 650 metres to second entrance to carpark C9 on the right. The path to the theatre is on the left.
Margi and Leah’s have had their creative theatre company, ‘The Nest Ensemble’, for the last 15 years. This cherished and private play is their first joint devised piece. Six years ago, Margi’s and Leah’s jointly written play, ‘Joey, the Mechanical Boy’ won the Blue Room Theatre’s Members’ Choice Award, for their play being the most admired of the year’s productions. This is probably the most prestigious award, as it is decided by the audiences who have attended all year.
The scene: a home house party. Then a thousand years ago in the ‘Patriarchal Museum’.
The set: A dozen Persian and Axminster rugs. The museum had a line of a dozen illuminated pine boxes, with Perspex display boxes containing ancient treasures from Greek mythology. These good properties supplied by Ella Randle also included a wooden telephone box c.f. Dr Who. Nicole Tomlinson’s costumes were predominantly black suits, tights and T-shirts.
The Stage Management was smoothly carried out by Sarah Connolly and her deputy, Alex Hutchings. The whole production was managed by Stephen Carr.
Stephen Carr’s fine lighting and graphic projection design was operated by Sophie Paice, with good team work, included Sebastian Boyd’s soundscape that blended sensitivity and booming drama.
Before the show, the audience are welcomed into the ‘home’ by Kelsey Gardner and Brooke Tyler, and offered warm mulled wine or orange juice. There was clay for anyone that wanted to create a ‘being’.
The athletic Hermes (Nelson Fannon) goes to the museum collection and selects a winged headpiece to aid and protect him as the messenger to the Gods. He then choses a mask / hood and gives it to the King of all of the Gods, Zeus (Samuel Addison).
A mild natured, young woman, Pandora (Amber Gilmour) is born and given a magical box – full of troubles – by Zeus, who now has full control of this female. In trying to build his team further, Zeus choses a character who is willing to take on any persona, a henchman (Callum O’Mara) and Prometheus (Isaac Willis) – naturally all males.
Slowly Pandora begins to realise that the features she admires in a man are the feminine traits, and likewise she noticed that men tend to prefer women with masculine qualities. If men and women are so similar, then why are women so subservient and treated like nonentities? As Pandora matures, she proves to be a full and capable individual, possibly even a leader. Pandora’s friend (Michaela Knight) challenges Zeus.
In this fast moving play that smoothly blended ancient history and folk tales with the present day, the Directors, Margi Brown Ash and Leah Mercer were capably assisted by Molly Earnshaw. Inspirational quotes were projected onto the back wall, as though being typed out by its author. There were several of poet Nikita Gill’s mind-stirring quotes displayed.
The standard of acting, especially, Pandora, Zeus and Hermes were particularly good, with the ensemble showing vigour and emotion.
This powerful play was devised to make the performance students think, re-act and work hard, and in doing so, give the audience points to ponder after they have left the theatre. One does not have to have any knowledge of Greek Mythology to enjoy this authorative story; it was involved but still lucid.