But rather than telling South African born Sydney woman Eliza Emily Donnithorne’s story in a traditional way, Danger Ensemble applies the company’s philosophy of exploring and pushing the edges of what theatre is and isn’t.
So, as well as telling how Donnithorne was jilted on her wedding day and was found 30 years later still clad in her bridal gown – the wedding feast uneaten and mouldered to dust – the 70 minute work explores a number of other issues.
These include how can we as individuals, families and societies rebuild our futures after significant destruction such as a relationship breakup, the death of a lover and societal expectations. The issues are explored through the spoken word, poems, songs, dance, videos, images drawn from visual art and photography.
While the portrayal of some of these issues was lost on me, there’s no doubting the enthusiasm and skills of the four actors featured in the play – Chris Beckey, Eidann Glover, Deborah Leiser-Moore and Polly Sarà.
All were called upon to illustrate their range of talents in what must be a challenging environment given their frequent interaction with the audience.
The setting of the play recreates Donnithorne’s mansion and the audience follows the actors to ‘different rooms’ and areas. As the set is fairly small the actors weave between the standing audiences members occasionally pulling individuals into a scene.
As is generally the case with experimental theatre some will thoroughly enjoy Day After Terrible Day, others probably won’t but many will debate the play’s merit and theatrical presentation. And that should please The Danger Ensemble which according to artistic director, Steven Mitchell Wright, is planning other such boutique works which explore promenade, immersive and interactive experiences around relationships with love, memory and sex.
Day After Terrible Day is playing at Theatre Works until Saturday November 12. Visit the Theatre Works website for more information and tickets.
*Photo credit: Morgan Roberts
- live theatre, review
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