THE LIGHT BOX is a new play written by Natalia Savvides inspired by her research into the experiences of women in colonial institutions.
It is formed from a number of, at first, seemingly unconnected short scenes set in the present and the past but not in any strict chronological order.
I found it helpful at the commencement of the play to have the program which lists the scenes. As the play develops connections among the characters become more evident but as the playwright states it is not the intention to have a straight narrative or an easy answer to the questions of love and freedom given to us. The playwright leaves it up to each audience member to deicide what is truth and what is imagination.
As a character seems to head in a positive direction with a relationship they then often fall back into turmoil. Silence and repression of emotions for the sake of public face can have tragic results. Yet there is also humour and hope.
Three of the four actors play more than one role and all are distinctly different in each of their roles. Dean Mason plays a cleaner falling in love, at least temporarily, and also a giant toucan in a skilfully crafted costume designed and created by Dylan Tonkin and Bradley Hawkins.
Tom Christophersen, as well as playing a taxidermist and a lost lover on a cruise boat is a “man of spoons” with sets of cleverly constructed spoons for hands and face. Hannah Barlow effectively portrays a woman trapped in an institution and her past who seeks a greater freedom. Stephanie King plays a character who lives both in the past and the present and is a tragic soul in one scene with a spoon piercing her hand.
Though this is not an easy night at the theatre, as the audience is expected to consider for themselves the possible implications and development of the different relationships, the play maintains its fascination and intensity for its 70 minutes duration,
The director James Dalton successfully creates a range of locations and times, perhaps some refer to the “box” in the title and the stage manager Angharad Lindley has ensured the smooth running of scenes and change of props. The sound design by Nate Edmondson and lighting by Benjamin Brockman add atmosphere and help the audience as it constantly has to reorientate.
THE LIGHT BOX is produced by Fat Boy Dancing and We Do Not Unhappen and runs until Sunday 28 July at 107 Redfern St Redfern.