Review by Ellen Becker
The Clockfire Theatre Co’s original production, We, The Lost Company certainly throws up a crowd of twisted things; enacting, exploring and provoking our memories of the fatal shore. Collectively devised by the accomplished performers, Madeline Baghurst, Alicia Gonzalez and Arisa Yura; the piece is an abstract constellation of memories plucked from vastly diverse inspirations.
The performers evoke snippets from the symbolic to the conceptual. From crabs scuttling across the floor to the blubbing gas-filled bladder of a blue bottle, the performers then take from the recognisable to render in the abstract. A beach umbrella becomes a go-go dancer, a cornetto pried from an esky is held high in the sky as though it’s the torch of Lady Liberty. And in the delusion inducing heat of the Australian summer, it can feel that euphoric.
The seed of inspiration was purportedly Brett Whiteley’s magnificent Beach Series, and the performers homage is exquisite as they stretch their bodies into the elongated forms of Whiteley’s beach figures. In another sequence executed with commendable synchrony, the performers emulate the movements of the beautiful Japanese Ama Pearl Divers. In their precise but assured movements, you could picture the strong, vivacious women who have been diving to the depths of the sea for millennia, wearing nothing but a rope around their waist to hold their shuck - and pull them back up to air.
Weaved into Ben Pierpont’s exceptional original score, are well-curated audio recollections of the beach from the Sydney community. The remembrances capture our ambivalent response to the ocean, oscillating between absolute fear and profound joy. Our very Aussie approach to broach this divide seems to frequently be a parent or sibling submerging you in the blue until you learn how to grow gills. One of our prime ministers was swallowed by the sea, after all.
As the directors, Emily Ayoub and Kate Worsley note, “there is no singular interpretation of the piece.” Be warned: the power of this type of theatre is that is can throw up your own twisted things... Memories, poetry, myth. Disable your preconceptions. Be open. Let the music, the movement and the memories wash over you, and treasure what you find.
The Clockfire Theatre Company’s production We, the Lost Company is playing at the new premises of the Old 505 Theatre Company in Newtown, Tuesday to Saturday until the 31st October. For tickets, visit http://www.clockfiretheatre.com