Success of an surprising play completely with out self-pity
Theatre / “A Stroke of Luck”, Gretel Burgess. At QL2 Studio, Gorman Arts Centre, till February 26. Reviewed by HELEN MUSA.
THE success of this one-hour dance-drama constructed across the story of Gretel Burgess, lies within the highly effective efficiency of Burgess herself, however its poignancy lies within the depiction of a mother-daughter relationship.
Burgess, who at age 42 suffered a devastating stroke, is a educated dance artist who makes use of all of her physique to point to us, largely with out phrases the interior and outer conflicts related to the devastation of her situation, indicated by a flash of stage lightning.
Her 18-year-old daughter Chloe McDougall, eight on the time of the stroke, is the opposite half of this tender clarification of a situation that one in six Australians will endure of their lifetime. Their contrasting reactions are held in tight counterpoint by director-dramaturg Pip Buining to create an entertaining hour that belies the difficult material.
The night begins unpromisingly with two extraneous dancers wafting across the lobby, taking away from the facility of the opening.
Within the opening sequence, Gretel depicts the stresses of life, which she believes led to her seizure, by a sequence of summary physique motion, shortly interspersed with a second of pleasure as she and Chloe whirl across the stage utilizing a buying trolley as a choreographic car – the mundane assembly the ecstatic.
Because the tripartite present progresses although its components – Coagulation, Diversion and Legal responsibility – phrases intervene within the type of voiceovers.
We hear the voices of a Dutch physician who theorises that strokes could also be associated to excessive ranges of non-public rigidity and Federal MP Warren Entsch, chatting with the parliament throughout Nationwide Stroke Week 2015, wherein he names Gretel particularly as one of many one in six to endure a stroke.
However undoubtedly the centre of this dance-drama is the scene set to sounds evoking the Daintree Forest, the place Gretel’s life was modified without end.
A mighty flash of stage lightning – a Damascus Highway second – signifies the second when Gretel is struck down, after which, by excruciating bodily and psychological effort and sustained energy. She raises herself to an upright place whereas impassively, upstage, Chloe licks a Cornetto ice-cream.
Nonetheless, the impassiveness doesn’t final lengthy and in a litany, Chloe reveals what she and the household didn’t perceive on the time.
The ultimate a part of the play, the aftermath of the stroke, is a little bit of a romp.
Right here Gretel turns into a cheerful shopaholic, dancing across the stage to the “Flashdance” quantity “Maniac”, will get the household into bother over a bio-security lapse to do with a giant Granny Smith apple and brings on a momentary rift between mom and daughter, proven wordlessly till the ultimate, rollicking conclusion.
That is an surprising play, completely with out self-pity and staged with excessive manufacturing requirements by an professional workforce.
Thumbs as much as the attractive professionally produced program – a reduction for program-starved audiences to have the ability to learn who created the work.
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Ian Meikle, editor