Sunday, 20 October 2013

All That Is Wrong, Oct 19, 2013 ***

Written by Anna Jakoba Ryckewaert, by Ontroerend Goed
Melbourne Festival 
Produced by Kopergietery/Drum Theatre Plymouth/Richard Jordan Productions 
Fairfax Studio, Arts Centre Melbourne, Oct 19 & 20, 2013
Reviewer: Kate Herbert 
Review also published by Herald Sun. KH
  Anna Jakoba Ryckewaert

During All That Is Wrong, Anna Jakoba Ryckewaert confronts a litany of uncontrollable, incomprehensible problems that surround her: war, hunger, capitalism, fear, religion, sex, environment, and more.

If we allowed every awful event in the world to penetrate our skin, the existential pain could be brutal and overwhelming – but 18-year old writer-performer, Ryckewaert (AKA Koba), pursues such discomfort during her performance.

The production highlights the internal, psychological struggle of one young woman facing adulthood with trepidation, trying to understand her place in the world and what she believes or values.

Armed with only white chalk, she fills an expanse of blackboards on the floor with agitated, urgent scribblings, creating a chilling mind-map of words, ideas and obsessions that fan out from the central word, “I”.

Although she speaks little, she reveals to us a visual version of her identity, her relationship to her immediate environment and the wider world, and her youthful search for meaning and understanding.

“I think too much – I don’t sleep well – Skinny – Not anorexic”, she scrawls in shorthand about herself.

In contrast with its companion piece, Teenage Riot, a noisy, chaotic show that externalises adolescent rebellion, All That Is Wrong is a silent, reflective, ordered piece by the same director (Alexander Devriendt) for Belgian company, Ontroerend Goed.

Koba’s act of writing is very public with plenty of words, few of which are spoken because she communicates only indirectly with the audience, focusing intensely on her internal dialogue as she literally draws links on her chalkboards between issues such as multinationals, hunger and pain.

She speaks only to her onstage assistant (Zach Hatch) who films her writing, makes suggestions, extends the blackboards, or adds his own words.

In the recorded interviews that Zach plays to stimulate Koba’s thoughts, we hear a range of speakers pontificate on market forces, money and politics, or a torture victim relating his horrific experience.

As Koba fills her boards, Zach’s camera projects her words onto a screen until, finally, she hauls her board upright and words start to tumble to the ground. Nothing is permanent.

The adolescent angst is palpable and Koba’s burning need to fix at least one major, global problem is eating her up – I wanted to shout, “Just help one person at a time.”

It will be a novelty for many audiences to witness the creative process in flight, but it has limited dynamic range and looks more like the development of an interesting show rather than the end product.

By Kate Herbert

Performed by: Anna Jakoba Ryckewaert, and Zach Hatch
Directed by: Alexander Devriendt
  Anna Jakoba Ryckewaert and Zach Hatch

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