Left - Roman Vaculik and Jude Henshall. Cover - Cameron Goodall, Terence Crawford and Lizzy Falkland. Photos - Shane Reid
The State Theatre Company has broken the bonds of traditional theatrical fare and forayed into a brave new world with its latest show Attempts On Her Life. The result is a fresh and luminous production that shines brightly in this company’s repertoire.
This is a modern, brash and innovative commentary on modern society – a show that poses more questions than answers. The complexities and mysteries of the darker side of our 21st century society are exposed in an edgy and exciting production.
Martin Crimp’s post-modernist piece is a sinister murder mystery in which the central character remains elusive. Anne, Annie, Anya is the mystery woman. Apparently she is dead and the Attempts On Her Life are attempts to resolve the ambiguity of her life and death – her feelings, thoughts, actions, reasons for actions and motivations. In a series of 17 playlets within the play “her” life reveals much that is shadowy and unanswered.
The play also reveals the underbelly of the 21st obsession with the material world. Who is the villain in this piece? Is it really Anne, Annie, Anya or rampant consumerism and the alienation that ensues in this technological age? These are pertinent questions in times of global media propaganda, advancing technological communication, terrorism, and the world’s depleting natural resources.
A strong ensemble cast performs the montage of captivating playlets, seamless under the astute direction of Geordie Brookman. In a strange, but not unappealing way, the actors are almost overshadowed by the magnificent set, lighting and sound designs.
Pip Runciman (designer), Geoff Cobham (lighting), and Andrew Howard (sound designer/composer) have created a dystopian world with a warehouse style set that pulsates with a menacing life of its own.
Brookman has brilliantly peopled this set, creating a sense of surprise and suspense that enhances the feeling of a rollercoaster of modern-day obsessions. Mobile phones, answering machines, computers, airport lounges and more all take on a chilling estrangement.
This play leaves you with more questions that answers, but isn’t that true of the society in which we live right now? Is Annie victim or perpetrator? How well do we know anyone on the fringe of our lives? What exactly is threatening our world right now?
This is provocative theatre and if it has no answers then it is at the very least provoking us to seek them! This is exactly the role that great theatre plays in our society.
The State Theatre Company has done some risky business taking on this bold production. Let’s hope that audience members turn off mobile phones and plasma screen tvs, switch on answering machines, and reach for their credit cards to richly reward this company’s choice.
State Theatre Company of South Australia presents
Attempts on her Life
By Martin Crimp
Venue: Space Theatre
Dates: 1 - 23 August 2008
Evenings: Thu - Sat, 7 - 23 Aug 7.30pm - Adults $60, Conc $55
Sunsets: Mon - Wed, 6 - 20 Aug 6.30pm - Adults $55, Conc $50
Matinees: 16 + 23 Aug 1.30pm - Adults $55, Conc $50