Ardour and ache as Rebus performs again feelings

Playback Theatre ensemble.

Theatre / “On the Finish of our Road”, Rebus Theatre. At Nationwide Theatre, Braidwood, October 9. Reviewed by HELEN MUSA.

REBUS Theatre’s Playback Theatre course of units its work aside from most of different theatre that you simply’ll ever see.

It’s completely different from  one other theatre format the corporate makes use of, “Discussion board Theatre”, as a result of Playback Theatre is fully unscripted, with a reside musician, a crew of 5 actors and creative director Robin Davidson performing as moderator to elicit tales from the viewers after which instantly “play” them again on stage, with a counsellor available in case of difficult moments.

A lot of these within the viewers had earlier been current for a neighborhood dialogue with First Nations elders, a part of the “Come – Collectively Braidwood  2022” occasion, which we heard had led to  some agitation and excessive feelings.

“We’re tapping into some deep tales,” Davidson mentioned.

The present has been on tour and thru East Gippsland, Eurobodalla Shire and Bega Valley Shire as a part of a challenge to construct resilience and wherever it goes, it modifications. Down on the coast, as an example, they generally heard tales from firefighters within the viewers, however typically not.

“Let’s watch,” says Robin Davidson. Photograph: Helen Musa.

Because the title “On the Finish of our Road” suggests, this present is about neighborhood , and the Rebus actors kicked off by telling tales from their very own streets – a Christmas get together within the cul-de-sac and  the grumpy man fixing vehicles, as an example.

However that was simply the beginning. Because the afternoon progressed and the tales emerged, sometimes Davidson would cease to say: “Let’s watch”.

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It was time for viewers members to step on to the stage. One such was Vera, a former early childhood practitioner from Canberra, who, twenty years in the past, moved to the protection of 100 acres on Mongarlowe Forest, an expertise that first felt terrifying, however later satisfying.

“Let’s watch,” Davidson mentioned, earlier than a forged member grew to become Vera, shifting step-by-step to the forest,  encountering bushes and fauna performed by forged members  and studying the hidden secrets and techniques of the forest, together with its darkish historical past, earlier than a reconciliatory ending.

A extra unsettling half  of the efficiency got here when one other viewers member,  telling us, “it’s arduous to explain how I’m feeling,” expressed the separation she had lengthy felt from nature, and her eagerness to attach with it.

This was tougher for the actors to deal with within the improvised theatre format, so the bodily motion and the immediately created music got here to the fore.

Many of the tales weren’t a lot tales as expressions of feeling, reflections on the graciousness of the elders and the motion from grief to hope., so when creator, Craig Cormick who lives in Braidwood, took his flip to step up, there was a change of temper.

He advised  the story of his fast-gentrifying Braidwood Road, the place, post-covid, he’d been inveigled into taking part in Halloween.  One other pleased ending ensued as, having began on the rounds with a bunch of youngsters, he observed what number of homes had lanterns, even the homes of lonely, aged folks whose faces lit up as the kids got here to greet them.

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This was grist to the mill of the Rebus forged, who enacted the entire story in  a light-hearted method, bringing the efficiency to an finish.

However there was extra. Earlier than we adjourned, Davidson requested us to sum up in a phrase the impression we had carried away – Forgiveness? Understanding? Connection? All of that and extra, it appeared.

Rebus Theatre will conclude its journey by communities with a ultimate efficiency on the Road Theatre on October 15.



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Ian Meikle, editor