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Sonder at Fringe Adelaide 2017 - Review

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by Haydn Radford (subscribe)
Haydn Radford -A freelance writer born in Adelaide, who loves living here. I write about movies, theatre, entertainment, literary and art events. I am happy to promote & review your events. www.weekendnotes.com/profile/121822
Event: -
Make your bed, but don't lie (in it)
Sonder at Fringe Adelaide - Review
Make your bed, but don't lie (in it.) Photo: H. Radford


As always, the Adelaide Fringe continues to offer a vast variety of energetic artists and performers from around the world and from all over Australia. A wonderful collection of shows where you can embrace the amusing, entertaining, inspirational, unexpected, the risque and the outrageous.

Sonder however, offers something quite different as a theatrical experience, with a one-on-one performance in a bedroom setting with Melbourne-based artist, Catherine Holder. Catherine created this theatre piece involving how we connect with others, as part of her fourth year, Deakin Art and Performance in Drama.

If you are wondering what Sonder means, well to quote the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, it is, "the realisation that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own."

I expect a lot of people will feel the same as myself, and won't know quite what to expect when attending Sonder. Catherine however, is expecting to surprise her participants, but she wants the performance to offer a friendly, relaxing environment, where people will think about how they relate to other people.

Sonder begins with you being greeted at the door by Amanda who invites you to look over some bedding items and asks you to choose some that appeal to you, whether it be the colour, design, aroma and or texture. You are invited to enter the bedroom where you meet Catherine and alone you prepare to make the bed under your direction. Once the bed is made, Catherine and you make yourself comfortable on the bed and engage with the unknown as you explore your familiarity as you both participate in some everyday activities.

I have purposely written my review, without going into a lot of detail concerning the activities of what actually transpired, because I feel to do that would only spoil the element of surprise and detract from your experience.

What I will say is that I found Sonder a sincerely relaxing and enlightening experience. Especially, the element of surprise when dealing with the unknown, as I explored with a stranger my different senses of touch and sight, as we both shared our feelings and thoughts resulting from the activities we participated in.

I am sure many of us realise that in our daily lives we can be easily distracted by so many different things happening around us, resulting in us not making the time to concentrate on just one point of attention. Well, I became aware of how it can make a difference to how I see things when I make time to focus, just on the one thing at a time.

Cathrine creates a comfortable environment for participants to think about how they relate to other people, while dealing with their sensory functions while they are doing a common task they may do every day or when tackling a new activity.

There are 7.5 billion people in the world, and we are all individuals, but we are all human with similarities. Some people may feel uncomfortable about being in a room, especially a bedroom, with someone they may not know. Sonder is all about finding out about the power from the performer, and power from the audience. Some people may be feeling the space makes them feel vulnerable, and may question, why is that? Others will feel quite comfortable and at ease. At the end, you may find you overcame your initial hesitations, which can be a good thing to do as well, as you experience and attempt something a little bit different.

For many of us, a bedroom represents an intimate and serene private space. However, with people being of different ages and lifestyle and experiences there will naturally be different expectations and interpretations of a bedroom, which in its own way adds a sense of mystique, and perhaps a sense of fun to this experience.

Sonder at Fringe Adelaide - Review
Evidence that Sonder can be fun. Artist: Catherine Holder Photo: H. Radford


And if you are one of those people who ponder about the question:
What does it mean to you to make your bed every day?

You may consider the words of US Navy admiral and UT, Austin, alumnus William H. McRaven, who stressed, "If you want to change the world, then start by making your bed." Hence, your first task for the day, you have completed. So once you have done it, you can accomplish anything."

Sonder at Fringe Adelaide - Review
Delightful coffee and tasty light snacks. Photo: H. Radford


And when you are ready, your Hosts Rob and Sue will pleasantly cater for you a delightful coffee, light snacks and delicious patisserie in a relaxed atmosphere, with a curated range of music that does not intrude.

Sonder at Fringe Adelaide - Review
You Hosts at ShantyTown - Rob and Sue. Photo: H. Radford.

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Why? Have some fun and adventure exploring your wonder filled secret world in a peaceful intimacy. Age suitability: G.
When: 17th - 26th February 2017 - various times. Duration: 15 minutes.
Phone: 1300 621 255 or
Where: Shantytown in the Bluebird Coffee Lounge, 129 Currie Street, Adelaide
Cost: Full price: $22. Concession: $18. Artist discount: $15. Companion Card: $0. Prices may not be available on all sessions. Age suitability: G.
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