Left – Jane Phegan. Photo – Lucy Parakhina
Good With Maps is a beautifully written monologue by Noelle Janaczewska that charts geographical and emotional landscapes. It pulls you into the world of explorers who navigated jungles and circumnavigated the globe, chasing dreams of wealth and fame as well as adventure and escape. Janaczewska has a wonderful way of making you want to pick up a book and embark on real and imagined journeys. She reminds you of those great personalities who went into uncharted territories and reignites your interest in their tales of bravery, boldness and folly. Her monologue reveals the beginning or the end of a story but never the whole tale. She sets alight a childlike curiosity that makes you want to know more.
But interwoven with exploration and adventure is a tale that is closer to the heart. She delves into the world of humanity and its complex and rugged relationships. On her bravest exploration Janaczewska embarks on a journey into unfamiliar grounds and she shares with us her deep and profound discoveries of sadness, humour and the human heart while she deals with her father’s diagnoses of Parkinson’s and its effect on her life and those closest to her.
Jane Phegan’s performance in Good With Maps is charming. She has a remarkable stage presence that keeps you engaged from beginning to end. It is not just the words that take you on the journey it is the tones and lilts in her voice that move you from intrepid traveller under cauliflower skies to desperate daughter weighted by life’s unmovable path. Her diction makes her effortless to understand and she moves you from wild rainforests to untamed Tesco encounters. She can in one moment make your skin tingle with the imagined anticipation of being on the Amazon River and the next make you weep at the reality of a degenerative condition that steals those you love.
With minimal staging your focus is never distracted from Phegan and she holds your attention throughout the performance. The sound design is crafted well and offers her words a scaffold to linger on. Good With Maps is sad but by no means melancholic. It finds a symmetry that leaves you feeling balanced between worlds both real and imagined.
Siren Theatre Co presents
GOOD WITH MAPS
by Noëlle Janaczewska
Director Kate Gaul
Venue: Kings Cross Theatre (KXT)
Dates: 4, 8, 11, 17 (+ artist talk), 20, 23, 26 (incudes 2pm matinee) November 2016
Tickets: $25 – $30