Wednesday, 14 November 2001

Inside Out, Brunswick Women's Theatre, Nov 14, 2001

Inside Out Brunswick Women's Theatre Brunswick Mechanics' Institute
Nov 14 until December 1 , 2001
Reviewer: Kate Herbert

The development of new theatrical work with inexperienced actors can be magical. Inside Out, Brunswick Women's Theatre, is a work that resonates with personal stories of the eighteen performers. 

 Director, Nadja Kostich, makes a moving and provocative work with this group of local women, most of whom have never been on stage before.

This is not a narrative based play. It does not have a linear story. There are threads of the lives of Australian women from all parts of the globe: South America, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Asia and Australia.

The thematic link is the home. The evocative design by Nina Sanadze incorporates countless window frames and a tiny doll's house floating downstage.

We hear snatches about family, childhood, love and child bearing. Some stories are melancholy, even tragic. Others are bright and hopeful. A Muslim woman, who appears only on video, proclaims in her broken but poetic English, " I can't believe I am freedom."

Kostich is masterly in her direction and nurturing of these women's input. She takes raw material and weaves a spell with it. The women trusted her with sensitive moments and personal revelations.

The form is abstract. The language is at times literal, at others lyrical.

Kostich employs a gestural language that takes advantage of repetition and symbolism to highlight moments in each woman's life. By creating a universal language and stylised representations of stories, we are able to see the threads that bind us rather than those that separate.

A moving monologue is from Maria Cabello talks about her epileptic, disabled son who only speaks to her through a hand puppet. A young woman talks about depression and suicide, a third (Lina Hassan) about escape from a violent regime. There is an eccentric and colourful scene by Julia Jeong who sings and gyrates as if in an Asian brothel.

The scene depicting a cluster of refugees knocking at our continental door is chastening given our recent experiences with boat arrivals.

Music is an intrinsic component of this production. Irene Vela, performs on guitar with the golden-voiced Linda Laasi and cellist Amanda Rowarth. The entire company of women sings but Sarah Clemens is one sweet voice amongst them.

The show has perhaps too many stories to tell and runs a little long. However, Inside Out is a fine example of community, devised theatre. Nadja Kostich must be commended for this sensitive and delightful work.

By Kate Herbert

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