Whose Gonna Love Em? I Am That I Am - Review

Whose Gonna Love Em? I Am That I Am - Review


Posted 2023-11-23 by Jenfollow

Wed 22 Nov 2023 - Sun 03 Dec 2023

Images © Jacinta Keefe

Written and directed by Kamarra Bell-Wykes and performed by Maggie Church-Kopp, Maurial Spearim and Corey Saylor Brunskill, Whose Gonna Love Em? I Am That I Am , recipient of the 2021 Patrick White Playwrights Award is playing at the Malthouse Theatre , 113 Sturt Street, Melbourne until 3 December 2023. Brought to you by A Daylight Connection , get your tickets here . Part of a double billing, you'll find the review for Chase below. Show times are 6.30pm at Malthouse's Tower Theatre upstairs for Whose Gonna Love Em?, and 8pm downstairs at the Beckett Theatre for Chase**.

An empty stage bar three chairs and three performers, guitarist hidden behind a see-through mesh curtain; not much of a set to see, but the show speaks volumes. It takes so deep a dive into the subject matter and speaks it out so loud and clear, one has to believe we're witnessing a lived experience. It's trauma out in the open being interrogated at an absurd group therapy session. Perhaps the same wounds and experiences shared speaking as one voice from three, in this one-act three hander play. A calm and crystal clear voice directing them through their innermost angst, damaged by intergenerational wounds needing to be healed. Grief that is held and remembered physically and psychologically.

This is a very relatable subject if you've ever experienced it or it's written in your DNA. Every tick and movement an outward expression of the loss and trauma we feel inside. Performance strong, the cast were powerful in translating every emotion across to the audience, their gaze and intent never wavering. Noteworthy was Maurial Spearim who seemed to embody even more so, every move with fluidity and a deep understanding, it was hard to turn away from her performance. The accompanying sounds of the guitar was exceptional; a perfect coupling in that it hit every emotion with the perfect chord. The end of the play succeeded in having the audience feel its depth and magnanimity and how it filled the stage, one could not help but be secretly surprised as to how satisfying it was. Bravo!

Chase - Review

Chase is also directed by Kamarra Bell-Wykes and performed by Carly Sheppard who is also the concept, co-devisor. It's the second half of a double billing, sharing the same performance dates and venue as Whose Gonna Love Em. Also produced by A Daylight Connection - they are innovative and visionary theatre-makers, reimagining what theatre can be. Formed by Kamarra Bell-Wykes (Yuggera/Butchulla), Carly Sheppard (Tagalaka), and Small Sound (Quandamooka) who joined forces in 2020, they identify as a motley crew of multi-disciplinary artists, an explosive union of weird talent, bent on making punky new works rigorously and safely, to process the absolute filth of late-stage capitalist existence and the ethical crises therein; and keen as mustard to take their unique brand of post-traumatic, blak-futurism, adventure-theatre to Australia and the world. Their collective encompasses almost all creative and design roles including dramaturgy, devising, directing, choreography, performance, set and sound design, making for a dynamic, holistic and self-sustaining team who collaborate with Bureau of Works.

Images © Jacinta Keefe

Chase , an explosion of all the senses from the get-go. From Karmarra's lips to me; "if you want safe theatre, stay home and watch tv." According to A Daylight Connection , "Chase is an experimental hybrid theatre work exploring existential dread, class, isolation and pseudo-spirituality on the edge of a dying world. The gunk and detritus that make up a capitalist life and death are forced through Chase’s prism, with dwindling context and no earthly future. A macro metaphor of our colonial shame, if only Chase understood half of what she helps others discover."

Smallsound did a stellar job with a set design that filled the stage with what could be in every possible corner and recesses of Chase's (Carly Sheppard) mind. It was colourful yet dark, intriguing and interesting; and lighting design was perfect. It's what catches your eye as soon as you enter the theatre. It fully supported and elevated a one-woman show that could possibly have been very empty and uninteresting, devoid of its props. Sheppard as Chase works a very familiar character she's been developing, and delivers a powerful, engaging, visceral, raw performance.

Chase is living her best life in the flames of a dying world. She is processing, filtering and interpreting multitudes of mythologies, identities and theories that have given humans meaning for their conscious existence, and she's taking you along for the ride, along with her online followers, so; like and subscribe. Joined by her zany crew of besties and YouTube subscribers for company, Chase is throwing a party to end all parties, the party to end the world, but does anyone really actually even exist to attend?! Love it or hate it, you may walk out wondering what you've just experienced. There's a lot of unpacking to do to understand it completely, when you're experiencing something so very different for the first time. So just come along and enjoy the ride of what goes on in Chase's psyche. It will challenge, it may shock and at times make you cringe or cower in anticipation; and it's surprisingly peppered with humour and the pure genius of some of the narratives it comes up with. Personally, I also felt it could have been 10 minutes shorter as some of the messages were a little repetitive. One thing that's not in doubt is every ounce of effort that's put into a performance that gave us its all, along with a few surprise moves that'll have you wide-eyed and agog, and to mention it would only spoil your experience.

Stay in touch with Malthouse Theatre ( FB) and A Daylight Connection ( FB) via social media for future productions and new plays in 2024.

271209 - 2023-11-22 13:25:46


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