Indie theatre companysubtlenuance presents Tick Tick Boom, a play about two girls muddling through the unpredictability of life where one has pulmonary hypertension. Written by Melissa Lee Speyer, this play won the 2015 Silver Gull Award and is produced by Daniela Giorgi and directed by Paul Gilchrist, subtlenuance's co founders.
Sydney has been displaying nonstop rain of late and at opening night, it was no different, but this didn't deter the crowd that was waiting to see it. A simple backdrop of a bed, desk and bookshelf with a cd player (which will have you bopping to a blast from the past) worked well to set the scene of a girl's bedroom and the latter hospital bed scenes for the play.
The upstairs performance stage at Actor's Pulse was truly fitting as it accentuated the delicate intimacy of two young girls' friendship which was constantly toing and froing.
The cast consists of Emily McKnight who plays Jodie, who struggles with pulmonary hypertension which leaves her housebound and increasingly dependent on her oxygen cylinder. Rose Marel plays the classmate Clara whose enticed by financial incentives to make house calls to fund her love of designer clothes and one-time childhood playmates with Jodie.
Forced to spend time together, in time an earnest sisterly friendship emerges as they navigate the perils imminent death, the last year of high school onto adulthood. Jodie and Clara are wonderful to watch as you are immediately transported back to 1996 and onto 2000, reminiscent of the hype of Y2K and the possible end of the world.
Wondering what will be, or what the future will hold, we watch Jodie resigned to her condition, however, fighting to vicariously live life through Clara. Clara, on the other hand, is much into fashion labels, fads and pop songs and develops an understanding from hanging out with Jodie. Somehow they untangle their way through experiences which pull and push them closer and apart.
Tick Tick Boom was entrancing in its direct dialogue between the characters. It portrayed how one deals with pulmonary hypertension in life and the difficulty of feeling alone rather than depending on others. Two schoolgirls navigating through school, coming of age not knowing their futures but making the most of it at that possible time.
The play is insightful and full of truth. The slow scene changes added to the play details and cemented Jodie's fierce independence and Clara's sorrow. The writer's notes included in the program states that this play was written for a friend with this heart and lung disease to show 'she cared and that she wasn't alone. And maybe to reassure herself she's not alone either.'
If you are yet to see a play this year, I recommend this be the one you do see as its never too late to show you care. The show is running between 10-20 October 2018.