With The Three Graces, writer Laura Lethlean and director Katie Cawthorne transport us to a different realm where existential questions are being asked from a non-descript historical perspective and where we meet three semi-identical women engaged in symbolic conversation about universal truths.
The trio arises from a bed of accommodating sand, sun, light, colours and thematic apparent simplicity - their guiding stars. Fast-forward to modern times and while the main themes are anchored in the same original values, the questions asked in long and intertwined dialogues by the three graces – daughters of gods with one foot in a supposedly bygone era and one in today’s world – have shifted somewhat.
Motherhood, climate change, gender politics, the different roles we play and, ultimately, the meaning of it all, are topics of constant discussion while these astonishingly bright young actresses (highly approachable and talented Madelaine Nunn, Candace Miles, and Anna Rodway) express urgent thoughts through cerebral and intelligent dialogues and conversations that move from hypothetical and abstract to more mundane topics.
Pictured: Madelaine Nunn, Candace Miles and Anna Rodway (Photographer: Sarah Walker)
Bold words are spoken, fragmented dialogues are created, candid voices deliver strong overlapping statements, and the messages conveyed to an audience hanging on to every word are complex and not readily answered. Rather, the synchronised utterances expressed by the female graces – young women, visionaries and sombre realists all at once – are often rhetorical. The answer is sometimes there and sometimes lingering in a space somewhere between the words.
This ever-querying trio with brilliant expressive abilities propose scenarios and paint pictures in our minds while we are left pondering life, politics, values and truths. The Three Graces is an ambitious play that requires active listening, audience attention, and clarity of mind. As a critic observing also the spectators’ actions and reactions, expressions and body language I realize this is an experience onto its own.
80 minutes into a performance that began by pondering how much time we have left “before this all evaporates?”, we are left with one final thought-provoking reflection: “Only the spoils are left – and us.” The three graces observe the demise of the world while expressing both grand illusions and exasperation and we are left wondering: Is there still hope for humankind? The answer is up to us, as is finding a way forward.
Dates: 22 May – 2 June 2019 Location: Theatre Works - 14 Acland St, St Kilda
Times: Tues – Sun; 7:30pm, Sun; 5pm
Duration: 80 minutes
Cost: $45 Full, $37 Concession, $30 Preview, Student and under 30 Theatre Works Website