Attempts on Her Life (Seventeen Scenarios for the Theatre)
16/05/2013 - 24/05/2013
It’s distressing. It’s funny. It’s sick. It’s sexy. It’s deeply serious. It’s entertaining. It’s cryptic. It’s dark.
Who is Anne? What is Anne? She’s a killer. A brand of car. A daughter. A mother. A performance artist who stages her own suicide. An ashtray. An ashtray?! Does she even exist??
Attempts on Her Life (Seventeen Scenarios for the Theatre), asks: How do we make sense of the world we live in? Earth is now a global village where everybody expresses their opinions. All the time. We’re all constantly bombarded with conflicting accounts about what’s going on around us. How do we know what’s real? What’s true? How do we know who we are?
Written by the award-winning British playwright Martin Crimp, Attempts on Her Life cleverly and wittily examines both issues of identity and twenty-first century obsessions – War, Consumerism, Pornography, Terror.
Attempts on Her Life has been entertaining and provoking, audiences around the globe since its première at the Royal Court Theatre, London, in 1997, and now this triumph of postmodern theatre invades Dunedin and the Allen Hall Theatre for the first time.
Staged by senior students in the Theatre Studies programme at the University of Otago, and directed by Stuart Young, the production includes elements of dance and music, with original compositions by Graeme Downes and Ian Chapman.
Please note that this performance contains strong language and adult themes.
Venue: Allen Hall Theatre, Dunedin, Otago University
Dates: Thursday 16 – Friday 24 May 2013, 7.30pm
(no performances Sunday or Monday).
Pricing: Waged $18, Unwaged $10
For bookings contact:
email@example.com, or call 022 319 8052
Marketing and Publicity:
Multiple interpretations of a life
Review by Kimberley Buchan 19th May 2013
The audience is plunged into darkness and we hear the mysterious Anne’s voicemail. This briefly outlines the vivid characters surrounding her and we learn of the many perspectives of the never seen Anne, a woman who carries her own mortality around the world with her.
This is an open script and Stuart Young has chosen to interpret it with thirteen actors playing multiple roles. Stand out performances come from Alayne Dick, Daniel Goodwin, Jakub Green, Olivia Kelsey and Tarn Felton. Some of the cast playing fewer roles have a terrible sameness about all the characters they play. All actors segue seamlessly through innumerable scene changes and nearly all engage the audience. The word lists are a difficult thing to perform without becoming tiresome.
Attempts on Her Life is a play about the many ways a life can be interpreted. In the ‘Seventeen Scenarios for Theatre’ we see how ephemeral the construction of identity is. Assorted beliefs of what it means to be Anne are displayed: seventeen variations of the truth. This is echoed in the way that we are constantly bombarded of a multitude of contradicting facts in our society. Nearly every type of media that does this to us is represented in this performance at some point.
The many perspectives of Anne are also viewed through the lens of different performance genres including the use of chorus in which identity is subsumed. The creative process is evident and mocked many times in this performance and the way that the characters involved use it to construct her.
Parts of the script are translated into a variety of languages but the only one without a voice on her own identity is Anne. Anne is consumed by all. She is torn up, analysed, chewed over, sung about and the audience is immediately reminded that we also suffer the process of having an identity foisted upon us by others.
Crossing lines are used to create discord. The plants in the audience break the barrier between stage and audience, which startles some but we all still do understand the conventions and the audience do not impulsively join in with our opinions of Anne. The stage is clearly set out into different locations in some scenarios and then the barriers are broken between them too.
At one point the audience is removed from the theatre entirely to be confronted by the actors clinging to the gates of the archway. While cold, this does have far more atmosphere than the theatre ever could have. The disruption of the audience is further continued upon their return to an altered theatre, with even the safe haven of their previous seats denied them.
After the audience has been pummelled with words, alienated, moved, had so many images offered/thrust upon them they are offered some placatory food as the set is dismantled around them while the play continues.
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