05 February 2007

Waves by Virginia Woolf & The Company

Kate Duchene
Michael Gould
Anastasia Hille
Kristin Hutchinson
Sean Jackson
Liz Kettle
Paul Ready
Jonah Russell

Directed by Katie Mitchell
Designed by Vicki Mortimer

In it's 2006/7 premiere run at the Cottesloe C20

The night started well because the man picking up his ticket in front of me was Michael Sheen, beaming away as always. What a happy soul and with good reason right now.

I was initially annoyed that the only seat I could get was on the captioned night because it is so distracting but luckily my seat was too far forward and on the other side so I could hardly see it. However, there were moments during the production when I found it handy to double check the intention of the sound effect.

This is a remarkable production. In simple form, the company are reading Virginia Woolf's book but it seems to start almost like a radio dramatisation with people making noises to match other actions. In the first half here are two video cameras on sticks and one mounted from direction above to look down the middle of a run of four tressle tables. Behind the tables there is a back projection screen.

The company interchange their roles between the visual and the audio characters. I am hopelessly inadequate to explain this. They operate the cameras and perform the details of the story visually but the dialogue and inner thoughts of the characters portrayed are voiced somewhere else on the stage. The choreography of the front of camera action is incredible because so much of it is in extreme close up…..no room for mistakes. They make their marks every time. It wouldn't work if they missed.

In the second half one of the cameras is off sticks and hand held on a steering wheel mount. Some of these shots are even more amazing that the first half.

The piece itself is heartbreaking and passionate. There are little pockets of humour and they are carried off wonderfully. I am so annoyed I saw this so late in the run. I would like to see it again but not so soon and it closes on Thursday. It's a one off – like a Robert Lepage event. Sigh.................

I should look at some detailed reviews to see if they have found a way to articulate this experience.

Celeb in the audience : Michael Sheen