The Box – A review by Catherine Lawrence

In The Box, the artists created and performed a moving contemporary physical theatre piece, challenging perceptions of people living with disability.

In the promotional material for the show, Screech Arts note that the artists seek to encourage audiences to reconsider “what stigma is, especially in relation to the actors’ experiences as people living with a disability.”

Individual performers in The Box may need support to achieve some of their goals, but they all demonstrated a variety of talents, and many great abilities, in their production. Together they have created an inspiring piece that hopefully will not be hidden away in a box but will be shared at future events. It is a work that deserves to reach a wider audience.

When I arrived, I worried if I’d missed half of the show, as a number of the performers were also in the Screech Arts Dance Troupe, already entertaining an enthusiastic audience with some great dance moves. But this was a bonus activity: a great way to attract an audience for the theatre piece, to demonstrate some fantastic dance moves, and to warm up on a cool evening.

There were so many highlights in the production: dance and mime (unfair to single out two performers, but perhaps most notably by Julie Stewart and Amy Lawrence who created a real sense of the frustrations of ‘inhabiting’ the box), poignant dance and speech (from Dale Gonelli and Danielle Stewart), compelling stage presence and work (by Joe Surawski, Niala Lewis, and Alex Procopis), and a great soundtrack (technical support by Julian Rodriguez Campos).

The movement and interactions were well-judged, but it was much of the voice work that will stay with me. I loved the discussion between Amy and Dale (“How are you?”), which led up the poignant story about the experience of the 11-year old Dale at the train station.

Danielle’s powerful monologue “I’m an aunt and I babysit” rose to a screech that created a real sense of both the joy and frustrations of a life spent fighting other people’s perceptions.

And Danielle and Dale also performed the thought-provoking “just because” duet.

Cast photo courtesy of Geoff Lawrence – Creative Futures Photography

Proving that with the right support they can achieve their collective goals, the performers created a memorable piece. I hope it leads to many more conversations, and a “breaking down the box that is stigma” (to quote Martina).

Verdict: Heartfelt communication. An enthusiastic, enjoyable and insightful piece which encourages everyone to respond to the challenge of “why did you assume?”

Read the rest of the review here: http://anywhere.is/the-box-review-by-catherine-lawrence/