Friday, 16 May 2003

Waiting by Dina Ross, May 16, 2003

Waiting  by Dina Ross  
fortyfivedownstairs, May 16 to June 1, 2003
Reviewer: Kate Herbert on May 16

Waiting, written by Dina Ross and directed by Greg Carroll, comprises three short monologues about three different women in Melbourne.

Petra Schulenberg.  plays all three characters. The monologues are not connected, each being a discrete snatch of one woman's life. They are character sketches rather than short plays because they have less theatrical action or dramatic tension than a play.

In Maybe Bach,  Schulenberg is Andrea,  a 36 year old woman desperate for love, waiting in a Carlton cafĂ© for the arrival of a blind date from the personals column. Andrea shifts between passionate and romantic fantasies about love and lust, music and novels until she finally  reaches the grim realisation that the man is not coming.

MRI  sees Fran,  a younger woman, in a hospital gown dealing with the terror of neurological tests and a potentially fatal prognosis. Intercut with her own trauma is that of her Jewish grandmother in Dachau.  

Both Andrea and the grandmother are interesting but the link between the two threads is not quite resolved in this story. The flashbacks to grandmother are repetitive and do not move Fran's story forward.

The final monologue, Boo Boo Be Do,  is entertaining. Schulenberg plays Courtney,  a Marilyn Monroe  look alike complete with Marilyn's sexy, white pleated dress and platinum wig.

Courtney whispers, pouts and wiggles her bottom at us in order to win a look alike contest. We are part of their inner world and part of Courtney's audience. The staging is sometimes awkward and the placement of the other contestants is unclear.

There is potential for this last to be a poignant piece. It could delve deeper into the degradation of being an out of work actor, failures in her personal life and losing the look alike competition.

 Schulenberg gives a strong performance in all three roles although there are moments when she looks uncomfortable in Maybe Bach and Boo Boo Be Do.

Some of the script feels more like prose than theatre but they are interesting if not compelling.

By Kate Herbert

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