Review: How To Build A Home (Ever After Theatre)

Venue: Balmain Uniting Church (Balmain NSW), Jun 1 – 3, 2017
Contributing Writer: Emily Dash
Directors: Natalie Rose, Alice Osborne, Marnie Palomares
Cast: Kerrie Ann Bezzina, Christine Blanche, Matthew Cutmore, Emily Dash, Glennen Fahey, Sophie Grivas, Tom Hancock, Emma Plant, Roddy Salinas

Theatre review
The idea of a dream home is explored by differently abled performers in How To Build A Home. An opportunity for all to reflect upon concepts such as personal limitations and aspirations, social obligations and privacy, the often abstract work may leave a lot to our imagination, but there is no mistaking the statement it makes about the importance of security and care that we all need in order to have fulfilling lives.

The show is full of spirited whimsy, with an enthusiastic cast offering up vim and vigour, along with a genuine vulnerability that is quite captivating. A collaborative segment featuring Emily Dash reciting a poignant monologue, alongside Tom Hancock on piano establishing an atmosphere of sombre drama, is beautifully, and hauntingly, rendered. Also memorable is Sophie Grivas’ idea of a house with three disco rooms, reminding us that our bodies, whether moving or stationary, are to be loved and pampered.

Visual design by Mirabelle Wouters, and James Brown’s work on sound and music, give the production an excellent sense of polish. The space they have created is glamorous yet unpretentious, a homely environment we find to be simultaneously comfortable and inspiring.

As long as we are alive, every individual has a right to space, and that space must be treated with respect. The home is both mundane and sacred, and recognising it as such, encourages us to honour every breath taken and every second that ticks past. Life is too short for any of us to be perfunctory about the time that we have been gifted. When we realise that every here and now is special, each moment experienced, and its corresponding place, has the possibility to nourish and fulfil, as though always at home, sweet home.

Review: Connect With Excellence (Ever After Theatre / Red Door Arts)

everaftertheatreVenue: Rozelle Neighbourhood Centre (Rozelle NSW), Mar 23 – 24, 2016
Playwrights: Emily Dash, Alyson Evans
Director: Alyson Evans
Cast: Rosie Amis, Kerrie Ann Bezzina, Christine Blanche, Jessie Chapman, Matthew Cutmore, Emily Dash, Teneile English, Patti Gilbert, Steve Konstantopoulos, Emma Plant, Roddy Salinas, Kate Walker, Lucy Watson

Theatre review
Lola is the passionate leader of “The Removal of Physical & Socio-cultural Barriers & Establishment of Equal Opportunities Committee” in Rozelle, one of Sydney’s more glamorous suburbs. We are taken on a tour of the neighbourhood, with headphones on, trailing behind Lola and her wheelchair, as she evaluates our suitability for joining the committee. Travelling through shops, streets and buildings, we hear stories from local residents and business operators, about people with disabilities, the challenges they face and the way they relate with community. We ponder on the differences and similarities of their experiences with able-bodied people, and spend a lot of the duration walking in their shoes.

Scripted by Emily Dash and Alyson Evans, Connect With Excellence is exuberant, humorous, and very touching. The impressive strength of ordinary people takes centre stage, while invisible privilege is exposed, making us confront our own positions in society, and the generosity we may or may not extend to others in everyday interactions. The work is delicately composed to take us through a visceral and emotional journey, going deeper and deeper as time passes, into our personal humanity. It is a meditative and profoundly reflective process that allows art to do its most sacred job, which is to make people better. The show brings to our attention, not only the challenges faced by people with disabilities, but also the unsung heroes who overcome barriers on a daily basis.

Dash’s performance as Lola is full of charm, wit and fortitude. The spirited and often bossy personality she creates makes for an effective and commanding tour leader, and her warm presence gives us a sense of security, as we step out of our comfort zones to look at Rozelle through her eyes. The show is amusing and entertaining, but also inherently political. It culminates in a pledge from each individual, with pen on paper, on how we wish to effect change. It is a decision and commitment that we make for the world that we share, to think about the needs of community, and to play a part in bringing about improvements, big and small.