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A funny, evocative play at The Melbourne Fringe Festival
The Afterglow, written by Emily Stekly, and performed by Hannah Koch, is part of this year's Melbourne Fringe Festival. It's on at The Owl and Cat at 34 Swan St, Richmond, between the 29th of September and 3rd of October.
The Afterglow is a one woman show that tells the evocative and emotionally charged stories of four very different women. There's the ordinary Emma, Australian, and in her 20's, Dr Erika, the outrageous, Irish, anthropologist. Nanai, a 60 year old Filipino woman clinging to her traditions, and lastly, there's Aggie. An 80 something year old woman with a story that will haunt you.
Hannah Koch stars in The Afterglow, a one woman show written by Emily Stekly
What unites these women? What common threads draw these stories together into one show? At first glance, nothing. Nothing except the actress is the same.
I was lucky enough to see a rehearsal earlier this week, and I was thoroughly impressed. Hannah Koch is on the stage alone for an hour. There are no costume changes, the set is so minimal as to be almost bare. And yet through voice, and movement and some indefinable shift, this young actress brings to life four very different women. And we get to watch her transform from one scene to the next.
As the play progresses, there are other threads that link the stories, that weave, if not the characters, then the themes together. The play begins a discussion of mortality and death without taboo. It introduces cultural tradition and spirituality, grief and desperation.
The Afterglow leaves you asking questions and wondering. These four women have four very different stories to tell. What began as the playwright's own need to express thoughts and reflections in the wake of her father's death, has grown into a play with a script and actress powerful enough to escape stereotype.
For all that this play tackles serious issues, and there is only ever one actress on the stage, The Afterglow is not a lecture. It doesn't alienate. Instead this one woman show is a physical, emotionally engaging story, with some laughs along the way.
I cannot recommend it highly enough. Opening night is Tuesday the 29th of September, and tickets are a discounted $20. Every other evening (and the Saturday matinee) tickets are $25 for concession holders and $30 full price. The Owl and Cat is an intimate theatre, and is easy to get to. The route 70 tram drops you 120m away, it's 300m from Richmond Train Station, train, and you can always drive if need be.
Follow Dusk Till Dawn Productions on Facebook for a glimpse into last minute rehearsals and some fun competitions, and buy tickets here through the Melbourne Fringe Festival website.