Review: This House Is Mine (Milk Crate Theatre)

Venue: Eternity Playhouse (Darlinghurst NSW), Mar 12 – 22, 2015
Playwright: Maree Freeman
Director: Paige Rattray
Cast: Chris Barwick, Veronica Flynn, Contessa Treffone, John McDonnell, Fabiola Meza, Matthias Nudl, Rach Williams
Images by Patrick Boland

Theatre review
Milk Crate Theatre works with artists who have experienced homelessness and social marginalisation. In Maree Freeman’s This House Is Mine, stories about mental illness and homelessness are woven together from a series of collaborative exercises that reveal the concerns and states of mind of the participants. Each narrative rings with authenticity, and even though many of the circumstances might be unfamiliar to general audiences, we can all connect with the emotions being portrayed.

The work features a cast that excels in bringing to the stage a sense of vulnerability that gives the production an unusual dramatic texture. Performances are all deeply touching, and often thought-provoking. Also affecting are pre-recorded interviews that tell of experiences that are rarely shared. We are informed of societal issues that require addressing, especially in the field of medical support, and hearing testimony from those in our community who rarely have a public voice, is profound, and important.

Sean Bacon and Sarah Emery’s beautiful video work is projected throughout the show’s duration, adding abstract dimensions to the unfolding action. The delicate nature of their visuals is a reflection of the fragile humanity that is This House Is Mine‘s main interest. In the presence of disadvantage, our privileged backgrounds seem conspicuous, and standing next to the powerlessness of its characters, our ability to influence change becomes apparent.