Project Interlude: Stepping into Stillness Review

From a paying of respect to elders past and present to an honouring of the small things that gain more importance than the big, this show put together by City Theatre in Sydney (a company established in 2019) speaks of the often overlooked spaces in between, of the importance of the interlude operating in the shadows of the main act, of the silence between the words and the benefits gained from breaking away from the rat race: to stop, reflect, reassess, and in doing so really smell the roses.

Celebrating a going back to basics, this unpretentious yet bold performance questions life as we know it, urging us - yet without pressure - to rethink our own role in society including our values, dreams and aspirations that had long been our guiding stars; seemingly the only rules to abide by. With that we are similarly asked to query norms dictated by society at an unprecedented time when the new (ab)normal has forced us to look at life and the world at large very differently, from a totally new perspective.

Written by Sarah Campbell, directed by Jo Elizabeth Finnis, and produced by Daniel Hill, this dynamic team engaged in a “challenge to write, rehearse, stage and perform a whole new musical in just one week” proves independent theatre is here to stay. Reaching out to the audience before the show even begins, City Theatre asks us, through their Facebook page, to choose our favourite theme “and we’ll write a new musical based on it ready to perform on Saturday the 8th of August!”. Defying the limiting effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on Australia’s theatre industry, the show at once performed to a live audience at the Flight Path Theatre in Marrickville, New South Wales, and streamed online through City Theatre interconnects the online world with that offline, demonstrating the beauty of technology and bridging geographical distances at a time when creativity has proven an asset like no other.

Featuring an acting quartet dedicated to their cause, this show with a sparse stage design opens against a dark backdrop. All characters claim to have seen it: “I remember”, “I saw it”, “I saw it”, “I saw it”, “I saw it”,“It was Tuesday 3pm”, “Wednesday, I think, maybe 2:30pm”, “No, no Tuesday, just after 3pm…”, “It was a long time ago”. They individually speak of their habitual engagements including the issues and irritations that are part of the daily grind (the mundaneness of public laundromats, a disgruntled employee’s complaints about his boss, a woman hoping to catch a bus that waits for no one, someone applying for another PhD yet “in that moment I wasn’t so sure anymore”). Talking past each other through fragmented stories, all characters ultimately interconnect in their apparent abandonment of the grander personal narratives (“I take joy in all the little things. And live my life exactly how I want to live”).

And then, a sudden crash, an unanticipated realisation,might it be a reference to the external pandemic that has ground our lives to a halt? Open-ended, this highly relatable show leaves us reflecting on what really matters if we take a deeper look. Less is more. No doubt about it.

Rating 5/5


Dates: 8 August, 2020

Times: 7:30pm

Location: Performed to a live audience at the Flight Path Theatre and streamed online at City Theatre

Duration: 30 mins

Cost: Free online streaming City Theatre Website