I'm a freelance actor, travel writer, photographer, foodie and attention seeker living in the lower North Shore. Check out my blog at www.emmajaneexplores.com for more.
Bodies I have in mind
Apocalypse Theatre's production of Mary Zimmerman's lush, lavish and ethereal work based on Ovid's Metamorphoses is just over an hour of storytelling, erotica and beauty. Based in Greek mythology, this piece, which feels more performance art than theatre at times, recounts familiar stories of human beings and gods tangled together and facing the human condition. Dino Dimitriades, as Director, has put together a formidable and breathtaking show that engages for the full 75 minutes of runtime.
Eros, Aphrodite, Euridyce, Midas and Orpheus, amongst others, make an appearance throughout the work and the language is a mixture of the high poetry of mythology and the mundane and blunt dialogue of the modern age.
The contrasts in the script are mirrored in Jonathan Hindmarsh's design, with stark scaffolding forming the set on stage immediately contrasted with the beautiful flowing skirts and glowing gold of the costuming. Ben Brockman's gorgeous lighting follows a similar trend with soft glowing states fiercely contrasted with moveable fluoro strips of light that the cast use to illuminate scenes throughout.
The performance is certainly an ensemble effort, with all cast members shining in their individual narratives, as well as providing impeccably haunting spectral shapes poised around the set whilst not in the thick of the action. Gender norms are thrown out the window as actors take on different roles, switching between stories with ease.
Nudity, gender reversal and same-sex relations become the norm in this performance, which only serves to make the piece more engaging. Here these actors are storytellers - taking on form, gender, orientation to tell these mythological tales.
This ensemble cast brings fearlessness and playfulness to their work, however, at times, the storytelling becomes more cerebral than living in the moment. Pole dancer David Helman is an absolute standout, drawing the attention of the audience in every scene with his poise and poignant physicality.
The cast play various roles throughout, a solid group made up of Claudette Clarke, Deborah Galanos, Jonny Hawkins, David Helman, Sam Marques, Bardiya McKinnon, Diana Popovska, Hannah Raven, Sebastian Robinson and Zoe Terakes who all deliver impressive individual moments.
Overall, the piece is ethereal and poetic but misses the mark a little when it comes to really connecting with these mythical stories that examine the human condition. That said, it is a wonderfully ambitious piece of independent theatre that floats and flourishes its way to a climax.
*Emma Jane Explores attended this production as a guest