Lay of the Land is a confronting and moving account of one man’s gruelling journey to his ultimate much desired destination – marriage.
Performer Tim Miller bursts into the theatre and challenges his audience instantaneously with an in your face account of his life story. This is no story of self-discovery. This man understood the lay of the land and the needs of his own body, emotions, intellect and soul at an early age. Rather this is a passionate, personal and political account of the shocking obstacles that stand (if only the past tense “stood” could be used) in his way to sharing his life with another.
Love and marriage is certainly no horse and carriage ride when it happens to be between two men, even in the late 20th and early 21st Centuries. This one-man show, part of the MidSumma season at Theatre Works in St Kilda, is moving and enlightening. Quite clearly Miller communicates that gay love and marriage is rough terrain indeed.
His show is not morose. It is a passionate account. Self deprecating humour, honest and incisive wit, and incredibly intimate moments ensue. Miller brazens it out from an explosive start to the orgasmic finish.
His set is simple and effective consisting of a large collage of maps through which different lighting creates different moods and which Miller uses intermittently to highlight his global love story.
Lay of the Land is ultimately a moving and emotional love story. US born Miller meets Australian-born Alistair McCartney at an international workshop in the 1990s and therein starts a 20-year union that many only dream of. Therein also starts a nightmare of red tape that many won’t ever experience. It is an enlightening and shocking mapping of the effects of discrimination on any human’s relationship. In this case Miller and McCartney face an endless trail of challenges to live happily ever after simply because marriage is/was denied to gay men and woman. The irony of this play being performed in Australia’s current political climate is not lost. However, hope is ever present as countries such as the US, France, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Brazil and Uruguay legalise gay marriage.
Miller’s passion and politics is palpable, revealing moments of George Bernard Shaw style political commentary. However, what are somewhat surprising are the philosophical and somewhat spiritual aspects of Lay of the Land. Here is a man who lays out his soul, maps his own life journey and exposes intimacy in order to portray his message. As such his one-man performance must be cathartic for many who have experienced such cruelty at the hands of the bigotry of society. The only conundrum is that the very people who may be challenged to change their thinking by this performance are unlikely to attend.
Lay of the Land
Part of the 2014 Midsumma Festival
Venue: Theatre Works | 14 Acland St, St Kilda
Dates: 19 Jan 2014 - 25 Jan 2014
Times: Sun 19 at 7pm, Fri 24 & Sat 25 at 8.30pm
Tickets: $30 full / $25 conc & grps 8+ [plus booking fee]
Bookings: 9534 3388