Howzat! Melbourne Playback Theatre Company is on a winner with The Hat Trick its latest and final offering for the 2014 theatre season.
Playback opens the first of three intimate shows at the backstreet theatre La Mama in Carlton.
The Hat Trick is intimate and spontaneous theatre. Audience members are invited to share personal stories and these are then enacted by a troupe of actors backed by musicians.
Playback’s performance begins with some vignettes – one word descriptions which are enacted with words, songs, movement and music.
The smaller sketches are then followed by volunteer audience members telling their stories.
Every person’s story is different, some interesting and some perhaps not. Nevertheless the show is tense and captivating by the very nature of its exploration into vulnerable territory and its spontaneity. This is refreshing theatre. It is funny but never makes fun or denigrates anyone’s experience. Some of the actor’s performances are inspiring, shedding light on an emotion or response and lending awareness to a person’s situation.
It is facilitator Danny Diesendorf’s unenviable task to entice audience members to come forth and share stories. Diesendorf is charming and personable, creating an atmosphere of safety and intimacy. This is no easy task when strangers gather to witness a performance, only to discover that they are part of it!
The audience and ensemble listen intently as a volunteer shares a personal triumph or challenge. Diesendorf cleverly helps unravel the story with well-placed quips and questions.
The troupe, clad only in black trousers and shirts on a plain stage, then enact the story taking different roles and characters. They are quirky, funny, sensitive and yet eerily insightful as they create a piece of theatre from one person’s experience.
The success of this unusual style of theatre relies heavily on the actors’ ability to establish and build a rapport with the audience. They successfully do so. The Hat Trick is refreshing, different and decidedly unexpected. Each performance is likely to be completely different as is each night.
Audience members could themselves perform a “Hat Trick” and go to all three shows, experiencing different theatre each time.
Melbourne Playback Theatre Company presents
The Hat Trick
Venue: La Mama Theatre | 205 Faraday Street Carlton
Dates: December 19 – 20, 2014
Tickets: $25 – $15
Bookings: lamama.com.au | 03 9347 6142