Reviewed by Odette McCarthy
The Old 505 Theatre in Newtown is discrete but welcoming. The small theatre is situated in the upstairs of a 100-year-old historic building, married with its vintage interior style. The theatre presents limited season productions and, as an artist-run performance space, aims to cultivate relationships with Sydney’s ambitious performing artists.
Showing now is play ‘The Split’, written by Sarah Hamilton and directed by Charley Sanders. As the title suggests, the play focuses on a relationship split. The simple yet loaded title partners the simplicity of the setting and dialogue, yet the weightiness of the intimate issues explored - the real matters of contention within an intimate relationship.
The play explores authentic love and loss in relationships. Secluded on a boat, Jules and Tom are consequently confronted with the reality of their relationship. Any relationship can relate to the entwined love and turmoil between these two.
Everybody perceives the world through their own lens, created from lived experiences up until this point. As with all relationships, intimate or not, Jules and Tom perceive their connection from their own individually amalgamated stances. Each accepts their own perception as a reality, which can make for miscommunication and misinterpretation.
Sometimes, in relationships, we are in different states of perception. As Jules and Tom begin to realize this, questions are raised, and perceptions are questioned. Tom prefers dreaming to reality whereas Jules, the latter. The subconscious versus the conscious. Dreaming is subconscious, sub-appreciative of the reality that is conscious and awake. Dreaming can seem like listless connections. A conscious mind can make meaningful alterations to our perceptions and to our lives. Will Jules and Tom come to a mutual understanding of their respective mindsets? Will Tom continue living life in a state of unawareness, considerably oblivious to the correlations between existent occurrences and current circumstances? Will dreaming be brought into reality? Will they consciously accept the things within them that they can and cannot change and use that to alter their present realities?
Prepare to feel uncomfortable at points, with marginally crude dialogue plus agonising ponder-pauses. Throw in some prompt wit and you can hardly tell this play is not, in fact, reality. Do yourself a favour and go see The Split. If you are consciously open to interpreting a meaning about connections, you will take something special from this performance.