On first reading of the media release, I was expecting to see yet another “Humans Vs Machines” story but was intrigued by the description of the production as a “cinematic play”. Always keen to be educated, a web search of the term revealed that it is the writer’s job to “craft a story that responds to this mix of familiar conventions and audience expectations – and find a way to make it feel fresh and original”. (quote Michael Lengsfield – University of Easy Anglia). So armed with this new knowledge, I looked forward to seeing Thalia Dudek’s second play for Three Fates Theatre Company in eager anticipation of something new – and certainly was not disappointed. What a great performance, with Thalia Dudek punching well above her weight as both writer, director, and actor!
While most plays are built around a plot, in Analog the plot is almost irrelevant as Thalia conjures up a rich contextual scenario, utilising a plethora of theatrical “trickery” to mesmerise and distract the audience. My favourite being the “door” that has an effect akin to the old “Keystone Cops” of the silent movie era, yet plays a pivotal role to separate the characters in their safe haven from the evils of the world outside – or does it? Thalia’s intricate stagecraft is ably supported by a crisp and edgy script that lets her fellow cast members (Ellie Barkla, Sarah Fitzgerald, Laurence Young and Zoe Hawkins) take it from there.
The result is a transformative theatrical experience that provides each audience member with a unique opportunity to determine for themselves what force majeure prevents the characters from fulfilling their obligations to defeat the “evil empire” of the computer despot Oculus: no ending happy or otherwise here. Without issuing a “spoiler alert” here, maybe the audience needs to ask what is reality, what is imagination and why does it matter anyway?
I am hoping that Analog can be performed and enjoyed by a wider audience in the future and enthusiastically anticipate more brilliant playwriting from Thalia Dudek and performances from her company Three Fates Theatre.
Venue: Irene Mitchell Studio at St. Martins Youth Arts Theatre, 28 St Martins Ln, South Yarra VIC
Dates: 21 April - 1 May
Times: 7:30pm / 2:00pm (Matinee)
Duration: 90 minutes
Prices: Full | $35 Concession | $30
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