Over the past decade, the Sydney based theatre company, subtlenuance, has been an indispensable and vibrant part of the independent theatre landscape, dedicated solely to the creation of new work. Much of their prodigious output has been generated by the company’s co-founders, Daniela Giorgi and Paul Gilchrist, as writers, producers and directors. They also instigated a playwriting award called The Silver Gull, sponsored by The Buzz from Sydney.
The inaugural winner of that award was Tick Tick Boom by Melissa Lee Speyer and finally a fully-fledged production has been mounted by subtlenuance, directed by Gilchrist and produced by Giorgi.
An intimate two hander, Tick Tick Boom is a taught time bomb about two girls, Clara and Jodie. Jodie suffers from a debilitating heart lung disease, practically moribund and house bound, symbiotic to an oxygen cylinder. Clara is a classmate who has been cajoled into making house calls to her ailing contemporary by financial inducement. What begins as a forced charity fuses into a fragile friendship between the frivolous Clara and the prickly Jodie.
The contrast of characters provides the conflict and the shadow of imminent death shrouds the dynamic of the drama. Emily McKnight plays Jodie at once resigned to her plight but also raging against it, simultaneously stoic and scared. Rose Marel’s Clara begins as an airhead focused on fashion and facile pop songs but achieves a maturity from both hanging with Jodie and experiencing some of life’s knocks first hand.
It has taken three years to get Tick Tick Boom from page to stage and the wait has been worth it. As Melissa Lee Speyer states the programme’s writer’s note, “none of us are built to go on this journey alone”.
Tick Tick Boom is a play that begins with charity, gestates in the faith of friendship and ends in hope.
TICK TICK BOOM
by Melissa Lee Speyer
Director Paul Gilchrist
Venue: The Actor's Pulse Theatre | 103 Regent Street, Redfern NSW
Dates: 10 – 20 October 2018