Venue: Petersham Town Hall (Petersham NSW), Oct 29 – Nov 8, 2019
Concept: Felicity Nicol
Directors: Felicity Nicol, Scott Parker
Cast: Alan Fang, Andrea Mudbidri, Bedelia Lowrencev, Caitlyn Wright, Ellie Oppen-Riley, Emily Pincock, Fanar Moonee, Jeno Kim, Jeremy Lowrencev, Mason Phoumirath, Niamh Kinsella, Pedro Luis Barrientos Rios, Rebekah Parsons, Tirian Tanious
Images by Patrick Boland
It is night time, and a group of young adults are exploring a disused hall, spinning tales involving missing persons from a 1940’s debutante ball. The audience too are on foot, lingering and observing, and soon we find ourselves standing in as ghosts, when the adventurers begin seeing things. Felicity Nicol’s Haunted makes extensive use of an old town hall, one that is similar to the hundreds that exist all over Australia, with performers dispersed throughout the venue, and us behaving like voyeuristic apparitions, tracking their activities over ninety spooky minutes.
Directed by Nicol along with Scott Parker, the work is fresh and playful, impressive in its exhaustive and imaginative use of space. There is pleasure not only in investigating the many curious satellite occurrences, but also in the very experience of exploring a forgotten building. Sensational work on sound by Nate Edmondson heightens all our senses, to have us feeling as though immersed within a world of horror cinema. Lights by Benjamin Brockman are extravagant at pivotal moments, to help convey varying states of surrealism, for a story about young people discovering their local history.
A cast of fourteen performers demonstrate excellent commitment and verve, relying on intuition and physicality, rather than dialogue, to deliver a thrilling, inventive and often beautiful work of modern theatre. Mason Phoumirath and Niamh Kinsella are memorable in their featured roles, proving themselves to be compelling actors, with limitless potential.
The present collides with the past in every moment, but we are rarely encouraged to look back, whilst we wrestle with busy existences dominated by demands of the rat race. Mistakes may not have to be made again, if only we understand their previous incarnations, and evolution would only be in positive directions, if only we remember all former failures. Individuals are only young once, and as a community we too should always strive to mature with each passing day. Lessons learned must not be forgotten, or we will forever be in positions of regret.