Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Griffin Theatre as part of the Batch Festival, presents BLUEBERRY PLAY, by Ang Collins, in the SBW Stables Theatre, Kings Cross. 18 -21 April.
BLUEBERRY PLAY, by Ang Collins, is a one-act monologue, shortlisted for the 2017 Griffin Award.
The monologue explores the highs and lows of being a teenage girl in a small town with two important men in her life. Her dad, Jim, is leaving her life - her family's life - he is dying of cancer, in a very public and challenging way. Jono, a prospective boyfriend, just turning 18, is entering her life - she has dressed in a home made costume as a blueberry because the theme of his birthday party is 'childhood memories' and she wants to look like Violet Beauregard from Willy Wonka ... but sluttier.
Directed by Sheridan Harbridge (did we need the video stuff?), Contessa Treffone has the task/responsibility of a near sixty minute story to tell us, covering the well worn territory of a teenager in angst - nothing new to surprise or capture one, really. The writing, though more short story than play, has a sophisticated vocabulary and provides much emotional melodrama opportunity for demonstrations of abreaction for the actor.
Ms Treffone, on the night I attended, erred in the excessive use of volume as her main technical vocal choice causing one to pull back in one's seat, having to 'weather' being shouted at (playing with tonal range might help the variety of attack) and, as well, there was some dozen or so concentration lapses of misremembered lines covered with self-correction that, ultimately, provoked one to consider just how much was the actor 'in the moment ' or, instead, in a mode of remote control - as they say "phoning it in!" Hard to stay involved and to suspend disbelief when the acting is so unfocused.
BLUEBERRY PLAY, in this monologue form, is an interesting 'pitch' for the development of a play yet to come, from a promising writer.
N.B. What was exciting was to sit in a theatre with such an enthusiastic young audience. They loved it. At only sixty minutes and $30, it was a bit of an affordable bargain, I guess, and with refreshment with handcrafted beers in the foyer afterwards, the beginning of a good night out, perhaps? Need to encourage more of that.