I'm a freelance writer living in Perth, Western Australia.
Life science fiction, with an old school feel
A Mind Transcendent is a live science fiction production, presented by Hand In Hand Theatre. Written by Jordan Baynes and directed by Justin Mosel-Crossley, the play explores the strength of human determination and questions the purpose of societal morality.
Keeping in mind that this show was clearly made on a small budget, the cast and crew have done very well with the resources available to them. The play stars Domenic Scriva as Ethan, who steals the show, Tiarn Hutton as Summer and Kamara Churchill as Soren.
Ethan, Summer and Soren are given a task to work their way through a series of forms and tests in order to join The Judgement League, all the while being monitored by a series of android units played by Nashy MZ, Tijana Simich and Sarah Papadoulis. They are also watched over by the ever-present leaders of The Judgement League, only known as G, played by Nicolletta De Gennaro, U, played by Oscar Sheil and M, played by Harrison Mitchell.
Meanwhile, another leader of the group, known as L, played by Michael Surjan, is carrying out a secret mission of his own, which will lead to a series of double-crossings!
During the show, there are a number of cutaways to pre-recorded videos which really add to the overall story. This includes a projection of the computer screen used throughout the tests, which was a great novelty to see in the theatre. However, there was a greatly missed opportunity during some of the segments in which the characters are writing code, which would have looked far better with a montage of random code scrolling across the screen.
The acting throughout the performance is varied, with a mix of pros as well as clear newcomers to the stage. However many of the actors were quite difficult to hear and really needed to project more. It was sometimes painfully clear that lines were being missed in places, but it was wonderful to see the cast save each other and carry on like true professionals until the end.
Book your tickets now!
The story itself was somewhat messy and confusing in places and in this case, it mostly works as a strong point towards the selected genre. The lighting, which was designed by newcomer Ella Ewart, was flawless, with perfect timing, adding a wonderful extra dimension to the set and flow of the overall production. I would absolutely love to see what Ella does next in her career as a theatrical techie.
The score, by Aiden Willoughby, is beautiful, absolutely spot on for this show and truly captured the essence of the genre. The sound design by Claire Mosley-Crossley was well selected, for the most part, however, some of the music was far too loud in places and drowned out the actors all together at the start of act one. Some of the voice-overs during a flashback scene, which I'm not sure if they were done live or pre-recorded, but the mic either needed a pop filter, or it was in a poor position, as we could clearly hear a lot of pops, which made it difficult to understand the dialogue in places. The decision to mic up the androids and distort their voices was unfortunate, as the mics kept on dropping out and the extreme distortion made it impossible to understand what the actors were saying and while this was probably down to a technical error, in the scene where the Lord is talking to leaders of The Judgement League in the final act, the sound didn't work at all and no one in the audience could hear him. In saying that, the actors on the stage still carried on with their lines, which was very admirable indeed.
The sets were wonderfully constructed by Julia Parks and reminded me a lot of the old cheesy B-grade science fiction films of my youth and the majority of the costumes, which were designed by Cody Lam were excellent, however I found the android characters bare hands to be rather distracting and would have loved to see them wearing some sort of gloves to really add to their charm and the choice of one of the characters to wear diamantes and a well pieced together outfit, during a time of extreme hardship was somewhat unbelievable for that character to be wearing.
All in all, this show is a fun night out for anyone interested in the sci-fi genre and is looking to support local theatre.