Photo – Talya Chalef
Visiting Lloyd Beckmann in his home was a lovely and intimate experience. The small (but at capacity) audience met downstairs in the foyer, and were greeted by Lloyd Beckmann, Beekeeper. As he stumbled in we were hit with wafts of smoke from his bee smoker, the first hit of one of the more visceral shows I’ve seen this year (so much food – I really wish I didn’t gag at the taste and smell of honey!). As Lloyd continued to teach us about beekeeping, I experienced flashes that I think many people could relate to; of being around the relative you dearly love but never see, and being okay with having to walk that fine line between rant and conversation with them.
Eventually we moved into Lloyd’s granny flat (the Turbine Studio). The room immediately felt like it was heavy with a lifetime of memories – was cluttered with sentimental items such as photos, books, cookies, cushions, rugs, stools and other general knick knacks. The audience were encouraged to sit down, and while Lloyd set up we were instructed by this vivacious old man to meet someone who we didn’t know.
Then, with true hospitality, Lloyd grabbed three volunteers from the audience and served up beer and wine. All throughout this he would converse with the audience, and I was pleasantly surprised that every-one seemed to be enjoying being around him, and we all continued to introduce each other to our neighbours.
Lloyd Beckmann was played by performer & co-deviser, Tim Stitz. Tim Stitz is in fact Lloyd Beckmann’s grandson. There could potentially be a very fine line between courage and self-indulgence in the show, and at times when the pace really slowed down it almost fell into the latter – but overall the show moved forward at a comfortable speed, there were strong moments of theatricality with lighting and costumes that were entertaining – and hell – it was a beautiful story, and I truly think Stitz has been very brave in developing this show.
Stitz would very quickly swap between being himself and playing Lloyd, these changes highlighted by sudden lighting and music cues. The line between performer and character was so distorted that I found myself getting almost frustrated (in a good way) when he would switch between playing Lloyd and being himself – I wanted Stitz to feel comfortable to be himself with us. Adding the layer to it that Lloyd Beckmann was a real person did seem to encourage a genuine reverence during the show within the audience. I was very touched by the experience.
I do encourage every-one to go out, see this production, make up your own mind and tell others what you thought.
Brisbane Powerhouse with Two Blue Cherries and Soulart present
LLOYD BECKMANN, BEEKEEPER
by Tim Stitz and Kelly Somes
Directed by Kelly Somes
Venue: The Brisbane Powerhouse, New Farm
Dates: Wed 20 – Sun 24 July 2011, Wed – Fri, 7.15pm, Sat 2.15pm + 7.15pm, Sun 2.15pm
Tickets: $18 - $25
Bookings: 07 3358 8600 | brisbanepowerhouse.org