MELBOURNE FESTIVAL - LADY EATS APPLE
LADY EATS APPLE, Hamer Hall, Melbourne Festival, 9 October 2016.
By MICHAEL FREUNDT
You can always be assured that a Bruce Gladwin, Back to Back production will take you out of your comfort zone and/or take you somewhere you least expect. Hamer Hall is the venue but nothing on the ticket or signs on the doors tell you where you will sit and even where to enter. When you do – and the entrance itself is an experience as you s-q-u-e-e-z-e in (and through what I'll leave you to discover) – you find yourself inside a vast black plastic dome; each banked seat has its own headset which you don, sit, and wait for something, anything, to happen (design: Mark Cuthbertson, lighting/technical direction: Andrew Livingston, Bluebottle).
And it does. Lady Eats Apple takes you in 75 minutes to the creation of the world with a very grumpy and insecure god who is more interested in death than the creatures he conjures; to the collapse of the night sky via a soundscape (sound by Lachlan Carrick, Marco Cher-Gibard, Nick Carroll) in almost complete darkness (don’t panic! just look carefully); to the difficulties and rules of professional advancement, finding an un-judgmental place to show each other our genitals, and wouldn't it be nice to be able to choose the time of our own death?
Big stuff. Heady stuff. And all done with people simply talking to each other backed up by the technical wizardry that is Back to Back's trademark. If I tell you too much it would give too much away. What you get is the end result of what must have been, originally, a unique and challenging idea brought to fruition through dedication, commitment, grit, and theatrical expertise. I can guarantee that it will be a theatrical experience like no other you have ever experienced.
But don't just sit there in the dark under your headphones waiting for meaning to hit you in the face. This is intellectually rigorous fare and the meaning is your meaning, and no-one else's, not even the creator's. Nothing sums it up more than this advice from the ensemble (devisors/performers: Mark Deans, Simon Laherty, Romany Latham, Brian Lipson, Sarah Mainwaring and Scott Price) …
...don’t take your headphones off at any point. It’s not broken, you’re just not paying attention. Watch the show and see how you feel at the end of it. Tell each other your theories, but don’t tell us. Like humans do, you will create your on myth. If nothing else, enjoy the majesty of us...