“Absence of character” says one of the characters in Attempts on Her Life, 17 scenarios for the theatre by Martin Crimp. But there is no truancy of types in the play, indeed here is a surfeit, each powerfully performed by a cast of five females, uniformly suited and barefoot.
In a volley of vignettes, the absent Anna is discussed, dissected, delved into.
Who is she? A serial suicidalist, porn star, prestige car? Perhaps all of these things and none.
Crimp’s bloodless coup of Pirandelloesque thematics is confusing, iconoclastic, enigmatic, targeting Capitalism, Consumerism and Globalization.
Deconstructive post modernism, ATTEMPTS ON HER LIFE, entices and provokes. Saro Lusty-Cavallari’s production begins with a TV monitor showing us the cast preparing to go on stage. We follow them from the dressing room to the stage, cameras intrude or keep surveillance with voyeuristic intention. There’s a sneaky audience participation as attendees are glimpsed on the periphery of the photographed image.
ATTEMPTS ON HER LIFE is a variety show, with torch song, translations, mock news bulletins and glossy advertorials. Nuts to narrative, it’s a free-fall sprawl. Attempts to make sense of it is the entertainment. As one character says, “The point is that the search for a point is pointless.”
Mirroring today’s world the production is technologically top heavy, with director Saro Lusty-Cavallari, doing double duty as sound and video designer, wallowing in the process.
The energetic ensemble of Lucy Burke, Bridget Haberecht, Lucinda Howes, Ebony Tucker and Josephine Lee sing, dance, posture and prance in elegant, kaleidoscopic confrontation.
Baffling, infuriating, all seeing and unknowable, ATTEMPTS ON HER LIFE, is a marvellous play on words and a kick in the head to those philistines who perpetuate the myth that theatre should be brainless. The one drawback is that polemic overpowers the playfulness and the production could probably shed 10 minutes.
ATTEMPTS ON HER LIFE runs till the end of the month at KXT atop the Kings Cross Hotel.