Friday, October 19, 2012

A View From Moving Windows

A View From Moving Windows runs at the Riverside Theatres in Parramatta from October 19-27. A multi-playwright project, directed by Augusta Supple.

I write this sitting on the upper deck of a Parramatta to Central train. There are not many people around me. Most are sleeping. One is listening to music, bopping his head along with the beat. Below me, I can hear people talking: two men, talking about a girl. There are M&Ms scattered all over the floor: blue, red, green, some trodden on, some not, some crushed, some whole. As we come into Central, I see into the building that houses the transits: row upon row of high vis vests, neatly stacked beside work boots. Under Central are the bones of a building that used to be a facility for juvenile convicts: has much changed, I wonder? Around me, there are stories, an infinite amount of stories – stories I may never know, stories that may never be told, but stories that exist nonetheless.

A View From Moving Windows is a deeply evocative piece of work. I spend a lot of time on the train (Wollongong-Sydney and back again is a long commute!) and so much of it was deeply recognisable: the viscera of train travel, the interruptions, the annoyances, and most of all, that feeling of total solitude in an enclosed space with total strangers, a space feels violated the second in which someone dares to say hello. It is not necessarily an even piece of theatre: some pieces are more compelling than others. But then some trains journeys are more compelling than others. I have many journeys which have given me a great Cityrail moment. I have many more that didn’t.

There were a few pieces that really stood out for me. Heart in a Box (written by Jessica Bellamy, performed by Damian Sommerlad and Shauntelle Benjamin) was my favourite of the night. This may just be because I am a sucker for romance, but this piece was achingly lovely, particularly the song (music by Jesscia Chapnik Kahn). I also really enjoyed In The Key Of ‘E’ by Alison Rooke, where three totally independent passengers interacted (a little) and soliloquised (a lot). It really summed up the frustration and the agony of being on a train, equating this one little journey with the larger journeys of life: you know where you’re going, but you’re not there yet. Vanessa Bates’s This Train – Monkeys brought a tear to my eye. Its followup piece This Train was not quite as effective, but I doubt I am alone in hoping Bates takes these pieces and creates a full length play.

Augusta Supple has curated and directed an exciting, innovative production here. Her impressive cast of actors deal beautifully with a variety of different and difficult material (I must particularly commend Helen O’Leary, Ildiko Susany, and Craig Meneaud, who were totally engaging – I could not take my eyes off them). It is an ambitious project, with a large cast and what would seem an unwieldly number of writers. Supple, however, has turned what might be chaotic and entropic into a journey, clackety-clacking along the tracks. It is sometimes uneven, but so are train journeys – full of unexpected stoppages and sometimes, unexpected delights. If you’ve ever been on a train, there is something in this show for you.

1 comment:

  1. I love the 'I Capture the Castle' style first line. A book that does not get referenced enough!