Venue: 107 (Redfern NSW), Nov 23 – 27, 2022
Images by Clare Hawley
Dalo Chips and Imli Chutney
Playwright/Director: Varuna Naicker
Cast: Karina Bracken, Madhullika Singh, Veena Sudarshan
Playwright/Director/Cast: Sarah Carroll
Piyal is in love with a married man, and trying to get her Fiji Indian family to understand her situation is challenging. Even though they live in Australia, where individuals enjoy greater rights and freedoms, Piyal’s respect for her own traditions means that she is unable to disregard what her family thinks. Dalo Chips and Imli Chutney by Varuna Naicker explores the tensions between cultures, from the perspective of those who live in the middle of conflicting values.
Naicker’s writing is well observed, insightful not only with the themes concerned, but also the emotions that emerge from having to navigate those quandaries. Three generations of women in the household are performed by Karina Bracken, Madhullika Singh and Veena Sudarshan, who bring integrity, along with intensity, to the story. A greater appreciation for the humour that inevitably arises from dilemmas of this nature, would make for a more engaging experience, but the message being conveyed remains important.
Unkissed is a one-woman show created by Sarah Carroll, based on the simple notion that the 24-year-old artist has yet to experience her first kiss. It begins as a parody of a PowerPoint presentation, demonstrating the extent to which Carroll researches on the subject, and subsequently escalates into something altogether more surreal and extravagant. The artist’s presence is strong, with an effortless capacity to hold our attention. The writing is cleverly structured, but not always substantial. There is a bravery in her performance style that could be applied to the text, for a more incisive look into the minds of the post-millennial generation.
Lighting design by Justin Phan for both shows, are ambitious and stirring, effective at providing enhancement to atmosphere, as required by the respective plot trajectories. Sound by Prema Yin for Dalo Chips and Imli Chutney is quietly sentimental, adding a sensual richness to the story.
Carroll and Naicker are both young women, going through all the normal things young women do, with the additional pursuit of making art. Art presents a unique opportunity for our young to find their place in the world. It takes a person out of themselves, making them find ways to care for others, in a mode of social communication that always holds one responsible, for what one releases unto the world. Artists are a species that interrogate deeper, and more persistently. It is a responsibility that must never be taken lightly.