As our world gets more complex, and more and more technically savvy, the line between reality and fantasy is becoming increasingly blurred. One inevitably begins to ponder where all these technological advances are going to leave us? Will life, as we know it, still be manageable? Have we human beings become far too smart for our own good?! It is this area, and these questions, which Sydney playwright Julian Larnach explores in his new play.
The play is a two-hander, Anni Finsterer plays an unnamed middle aged mum and Elizabeth Nabben is her (also unnamed) adult daughter. Nabben also plays a number of other, incidental characters.
Very early on in the play we cotton on that the two have a very fractured, tense relationship.
At the heart of the tension between them is the daughter’s great antipathy towards her mother’s corporate career based in cutting edge technology. She sees her mother as being cold and dispassionate. Tension mounts up between them, culminating in the daughter storms out of the family home and simply vanishes.
She might have all the smarts in the world, but mum doesn’t know how to deal with her baby’s disappearance. She is used to being able to work out, and control everything. At the point of full on despair she comes up with a strategy. She will try and create a clone of her daughter. That way she will never have to miss her daughter again!
Larnach’s narrative has plenty of twists and turns over its two hour journey. Sometimes the shifts, especially in time sequences, are a little confusing, still it was a provocative night in the theatre, leaving one with plenty to think about.
The performances by Anni Finsterer and Elizabeth Nibben were excellent. Luke Rogers direction worked well, as did the work of his creative team, with highlights being an edgy soundscape by James Brown and a compact, very good looking set by Georgina Hopkins.
Julian Larnach’s IN REAL LIFE is in its last few days at the Eternity Playhouse. The season ends this Sunday, 15th October.