Venue: The Rebel Theatre (Sydney NSW), Feb 16 – Mar 11, 2023
Playwright: Kip Chapman
Director: Kip Chapman
Cast: Diya Goswami, Lakesha Grant, Genevieve Lemon, Thea Sholl, Jo Turner, Jack Walton
Images by Clare Hawley
A teenage international climate superstar has been prohibited entry to Australia, but the demonstration must go on, in Kip Chapman’s The Resistance. When a political movement is truly worthwhile, it seems leaders can be easily replaced, because it matters much more, that constituents are inspired and passionate, regardless of who is installed at the top. Much of Chapman’s play relies on the enthusiastic participation of audience members, who act as volunteers, in both the staging and the story, over the 80-minute duration.
Of course, not everyone in the auditorium ends up on stage; the show finds ways to entertain all who are present, leaving none neglected or alienated, such is its attention to inclusivity. The Resistance inventively exemplifies how we can organise and agitate, so that our democracy can be moved to higher gears, and that the people’s power can be amplified and put to effective use.
Set design by Tobhiya Stone Feller creates spatial demarcations that reflect the various facets of activism, whilst providing an uplifting theatricality to the locations being represented. Her costumes provide for characters a sense of authenticity, with a palette that further enhances the different personality types. Lights by Rachel Marlow and Bradley Gledhill bring a great vibrancy that keeps the crowd excited, and sound design by Luke Di Somma works subtly to manipulate the shifts in tone between scenes, whether gentle or dramatic.
Actor Diya Goswami makes an explosive entrance, and maintains her verve to the end, as a very compelling Marlee, who proves herself a natural leader, always at the ready for stepping in to pick up the pieces. Lakesha Grant brings great intensity to the role of Bundilla, who guides the group to prioritise Indigenous rights alongside its climate concerns. Thea Sholl and Jack Walton are charming as Pepper and Miro respectively, both with great comic timing, effortless at putting viewers at ease. Genevieve Lemon too, is humorous as Drew, the artsy protestor, and Jo Turner definitely delivers the laughs in a trio of parts, each one funnier than the other.
Agitating for change, is never a comfortable process. When life becomes overly comfortable, it is perhaps a sign that complacency has set in, and that one’s eyes are being shielded from certain realities that require rectification. Material comfort especially, often functions as a kind of bribery, to deter a person from engaging in social movements that focus on the greater good. It is incumbent upon each individual to find out the truth about their own communities, with their inherent strengths and weaknesses, and then ensure that mechanisms are in place to facilitate improvements, even if it is tempting to hide away with one’s head in the sand, thinking that every problem is someone else’s responsibility.