Reviewed Wednesday 21st April 2010
Presented by Katrina Lazaroff in association with Adelaide Festival Centre’s inSpace programme
Venue: The Space Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre, King William Road, Adelaide
Season: to 24 April 2010, 8pm nightly, 22nd and 23rd 1pm
Tickets: Adult $29, Conc. $24, Student $20, Groups, families, GreenRoom – various other prices
Bookings: www.bass.net.au or 131 246
This dance/drama/documentary piece is based on the devastating 1980 Ash Wednesday bushfires in the Adelaide Hills, with reference to the effects that this had, personally, on choreographer and director, Katrina Lazaroff and her family. There is strong emotional content in this very moving work, particularly as the voices of the Lazeroffs, talking about the loss of their home to the fire, forms a part of Sascha Budimski’s sound design, along with music, bird song and the crackling of fire.
Kerry Reid’s and Richard Seidel’s very cleverly designed set has nine bare tree trunks, white, like a phalanx of ghost gums across the rear, with a collection of assorted white timber pieces that, like a Meccano constructor set, can be changed from a huge crate, to fences, pallets, a ladder and even a house. The cast also wear white clothing for most of the time, until they change and dress in brightly coloured, mismatched clothing supplied to them after the destruction of their home and the loss of everything that they owned. Nic Mollison’s series of still and video projections use all of the set elements and the costumes as screens, with further effects created by his lighting design.
The stage family is made up of Peter Sheedy (father), Carol Wellman (mother), Veronica Shum, Emma Stokes and Zac Jones and they take us, using both dance and drama, through the ups and downs of their lives, before, during and after the Ash Wednesday disaster. These performers clearly understand the impact of such a tragedy and their portrayal of the family makes a powerful connection with the audiences through a combination of the narrative itself and their superb and committed performances.
This work is not simply about the loss of property but more so about the changes in personalities and relationships caused by trauma. Adversity can bring people closer together, but it can also drive them apart. Some need to talk and be close to others, some need solitude, some see a new chance at life, the ability to begin again, some see the end of everything, some see a challenge, some go into depression and take solace in the bottle. These needs can often conflict and once strong, loving relationships can be shattered. This work gives us an insight into these possibilities through Lazeroff’s own experiences, those of her family and of members of the community around them.
This is a finely crafted work that will move you and leave you remembering what you have seen long after. Do not miss it.
Reviewed by Barry Lenny, Glam Adelaide Arts Editor.