Writer/director Caitlin Dullard, collaborating for the third time with the Church of All Nations Drop-in Centre, uses a skilled blend of live performance, film footage, stills, and recorded voice to present some very substantial issues, public housing, loss and gaining of community, the ambitions of architects, wowsers and social engineers combining to transform and often destroy the homes of the poor and powerless, the passing of the old working class suburb in a welter of over-priced restaurants and chi-chi dress shops. It’s actually a great relief to see a play about something so important and topical, and squarely based ‘here’, in clear contrast to the ‘nowhere’, ‘elsewhere’ or ‘anywhere’ of far too many other works of theatre.
Moreover, its weighty themes do not mean an over-earnest, issue-based piece, when performed so well by a cast of dedicated actors from the Carlton high-rise. There is a lot of warmth, humour and sincerity here, along with some gritty honesty (eg. about violence and drugs), and most of all a persistent fair-mindedness, in that the performers all present very different but equally valid accounts of life in the flats. This kind of truthful realism, of humanity, really, is pretty rare, and very welcome.
Reminiscent of some of the New Theatre’s productions, and the more Melbourne-based Pram Factory pieces, Le Corbusier’s Dream? also celebrates a feeling of support and solidarity, palpable in the opening night audience. Next time I walk up Drummond Street from Carlton to my little place in Brunswick, I’ll think a bit more deeply and appreciatively about the people in the high rise.
La Mama presents
LE CORBUSIER’S DREAM?
with the Carlton Public Housing Tenants
Carlton Courthouse | 349 Drummond Street, Carlton
June 15 - June 17
$15 / $5
50 minutes approx