Canadian born and Sydney based artist Talya Rubin has created a delightfully unnerving piece of theatre in Of the Causes of Wonderful Things.
Together with co-devisor and director Nick James, Rubin has created a world filled with horror and humanity within the detailed set and even more detailed characters of this play.
Of the Causes of Wonderful Things examines the story of the disappearances of the five nieces and nephews of Esther Drury, a quiet and careful woman living in a small town in the south of America. Delved into in sharp detail, this play weaves circles around this horrifying tale, peeling back layers to uncover truths that raise just as many questions as they answers.
Expertly written, the narrative brings into sharp focus questions of responsibility and blame, with characters tip-toeing the line of ethics and showing that there are always two sides to every story and even more ways for it to be told and heard.
Conjuring the voices and stories of their starry-eyed mother, the jaded detective assigned to their case and Esther’s Japanese neighbour, among others, Rubin expertly brings to life the players that create the twisted tale in this one woman show. Esther stands as an intriguing central character tying these figures together, providing the initial pervading sense of unease which shadows the entire show.
Rubin is absolutely arresting at all moments, displaying with heightened clarity each character’s emotional journey while moving between them effortlessly. The design of this show is remarkable, puppetry and projections which hark back to a simpler and more difficult time creating an intimate and eerie feel. Size and scale are used to great effect in both set and lighting design, at times overshadowing the quaking Esther and at others bringing her literally to her knees. There are some interesting attempts at audience participation; in particular a bringing of viewers into the action, which could at times make them uneasy, that, while needing careful monitoring, fit the created intensity and discomfort of the show perfectly.
Of the Causes of Wonderful Things brings all the possibilities of theatre together and combines them with detailed simplicity – each and every element of this show crafted to champion the others. This piece is so emotive and so intriguing that the longer it goes on, the longer it could be watched. It is rare and affirming to see theatre so utterly human.
Brisbane Powerhouse presents
Of the Causes of Wonderful Things
by Talya Rubin
Director Nick James
Venue: Visy Theatre, Brisbane Powerhouse
Dates: Wed 1 – Sat 4 May 2013
Tickets: $25 – $29
Bookings: 07 3358 8600 | brisbanepowerhouse.org