Mimi C. King is an Australian, living in New York. She and her iPhone together integrate to make up her whole identity, her thumb swipes and flicks across the screen intrinsically expressing herself. One day she inadvertently “likes” a post on Facebook, betrayed by an errant tap of her thumb. The beast of social media explodes internationally, an unwittingly unleashed outcry in reaction to her perceived views. The rather neurotic Mimi is meanwhile in search of an experience to enhance her introspection, one on a par with her yoga poses. She finds a promising-looking Jewish Chant group at her local Jewish Community Centre and after an awkward introduction, the chanting begins. Mimi can’t focus on internal thoughts, distracted by the chant, but is swept up in memories of her personal history, other views of the diaspora and has visions of the destruction of the temple. A grand sweeping vision of Judaism from the time of Abraham and Isaac to the here and now with Zionists, calls for Intifada and cultural rapprochement on a personal level in London, stopping at many other points in between. Narrative comes from varying points of view, from a lawyer in New York to Anne Frank in Amsterdam and Mimi’s Jewish father’s lingering influence in her life. Returning to the room full of chanting, logging back on to Facebook and flicking her way down the screen, Mimi re-establishes herself in relation to her online milieu and finds a conflicted, tumultuous inner peace.
Mischa Ipp carries this monologue, assisted only by sparse stage furnishings, a dazzling smile and her own personal charm. Thread is a text-saturated piece, full of arpeggiated prose, using silence for emphasis. Ipp stumbles at a few points early in the performance, words getting away from her, but she hits her stride and brings all her characters along with her. Physically Ipp engages by tight movement control, occupying her characters and pulling the audience into her one-sided conversations. Accent work is consistent and provides depth of characters and anecdote as well as guidance for context as the narrative perspective keeps changing.
Elena Zucker is a frighteningly intelligent New York playwright. Her use of a thoroughly modern incarnation of novelty-attracted narcissism to explore Jewish experience across time and cultures is astoundingly ambitious, and for the audience that is up for the challenge, it pays off in richness of texture, allusion, dense prose-scapes and random observations. There are very few signposts, however, for those who do not come pre-steeped in awareness of these stories and cultural and political points, leaving many lost along the way.
An intense production, showcasing the abilities of writer and actor as well as the success of their partnership. For dazzling drama interwoven with suspense, history, politics and self-identity, Thread is worth unravelling for yourself.
Little y Theatre Company in association with The Vertical Company presents
Written and directed by Elena Zucker
Venue: The Velvet Lounge | 639 Beaufort Street , Mt Lawley, WA
Dates: 9 – 18 February 2015
Part of FringeWorld 2015