I was intrigued and puzzled to read the media release that claimed, “no two audience members will share the same experience.” Surely that is what live theatre is all about - the individual experience of audience members? And an experience that changes with each performance? This might transpire because of the very nature of the human element in live performance or can be woven into the stagecraft. I recall attending a performance of Breakaway Party of Heaven’s Temple that did just that. Where cast members rehearsed all the roles, and each night would play a different character (selected by ballot) so both cast and audience were provided with a unique theatrical experience at each performance.
Pondering how the nature of Rawcus’ performance of Here We Are Amongst You would offer this unique experience, I looked forward to seeing how this would play out on the night.
The creative process began in December 2019 as members of Rawcus worked through the COVID world to explore the idea of “what does the world need right now?” An answer to this poser is revealed through their pure enjoyment of being on stage, and by the dramaturgy of Ingrid Voorendt to give their audience “an antidote to isolation, a celebration, a precious gathering in this moment of time.”
Kicking off with a joyous romp around the theatre space, the troupe meld individual, small group, and whole group interactions reflecting our need to have contact with our fellow human beings.
Colour is a key element of this performance. With a seamless transition, the cast morph from wearing a hotpotch of costumes to outfits with splashes of white, symbolising purity, innocence, and honesty – much needed qualities in a post-COVID world.
From pure white, the mood changes to vivid colour, with the cast meticulously placing swathes of brightly hued cloth across the stage to create a colour wheel of our emotions and perhaps representing their spiritual journey, starting from outside to the inner core, through its many layers. They revel in its intensity to the almost demonic rhythms from the Composer/Sound Designer Jethro Woodward.
Concluding with a touchingly simple exposition of where and when these performers were born, and an invitation to applaud the performance, the show might not be everyone’s “cup of tea” but is exemplary of Rawcus’ creative practice and inclusivity that embraces all the artistic talents of the ensemble.
Under the careful direction of Kate Sulan, the show was devised and performed by the Rawcus Ensemble: Clem Baade, Michael Buxton, Harriet Devlin-Dunbar, Rachel Edward, Nilgun Guven, Joshua Lynzaat, Paul Matley, Mike Mc Evoy, Ryan New, Kerryn Poke, Louise Riisik, Prue Stevenson, and Danielle von der Borsch.
Dates: 29 June - 10 July
Venue: Arts House, 521 Queensberry Street, North Melbourne, 3051
Duration: 60 minutes