by Lynn on April 30, 2017

in The Passionate Playgoer

Short Comments on Endings and Meeting as part of Spotlight Australia

These two short works are part of Spotlight Australia. Both are performed at the Berkeley Street Theatre.


Concept, text and performance by Tamara Saulwick
Sound design, composition and operation by Peter Knight
Song writing and performance by Paddy Mann
Set and lighting by Ben Cobham
Costumes by Harriet Oxley

A meditation on dying from the point of view of the person dying and the loved ones holding vigil as they pass away.

Tamara Saulwick got the idea for her show when her then three year old son asked about death and dying and what happens and will it be cold. The show is technologically complex with many reel to reel recordings of interviews of people who are dying and of their loved ones and friends who visit, hold vigils, etc. Some of the interviews are on vinyl records. Two large recording machines have two reels on them with the tape strung out between the two machines. Occasionally overhanging lights are swung back and forth for effect. The lighting is eerie.

There are recordings of people reflecting on their lives as they prepare to leave living. Recollections are thoughtful, wistful and moving. Relatives talk about the person dying asking the person not to go or leave them just yet.

Tamara Saulwick stands under an overhead lamp that cones out soft light as a tape recorder plays questions from a woman asking Saulwick about her dying father. Saulwick is obviously moved by her recollections. She is quiet and thoughtful in her answers. The interrogator does not know what to do with silence if Saulwick doesn’t answer quickly, but pauses to gather her thoughts. So the interrogator tends to babble more of the question when all you want is for her to SHUT UP AND LISTEN!!!! (sorry for that outburst). The interrogator also does not listen to the answer because her next question has nothing to do with the previous answer. The interrogator jumps from question to unconnected question. I guess this is realistic—people do not know how to deal with a person who has watched a loved one die.

Endings covers the thoughts of the person dying, their satisfaction at the living and the waiting for the dying. It covers the dying person’s need for a loved one to be there. It covers what people need to say to each other before finally leaving. What is conspicuous by its absence is any reference to a loved one telling the person dying to let go and not struggle and that it’s ok to leave because they and the people left behind will be fine. I find that lapse odd. It is such an important part of dying for those left behind. Odd that it’s not there.

I was glad to see it. It’s a loving, respectful, artistic show.

: April 26, 2017.
Saw it: April 27, 2017.
Closes: April 30, 2017.


Choreographed, directed and performed by Antony Hamilton
Instrument design, construction, composition and performed by Alisdair Macindoe
Lighting by Bosco Shaw
Costumes by Paula Levis

Antony Hamilton’s program note is a detailed, complex explanation of how he created the choreography using 64 percussive blocks for the rhythm and beat. He and Alisdair Macindoe are dressed in dark shirts, easy fitting pants and deck shoes. The movement is intricate and detailed as if the two are robots. The rectangular blocks are situated on the floor in a circle in a very formal patter. On each block is a small wood rod. Somehow the rods are manipulated by some kind of electronic device so that the rods tap on the floor or something under the rod to beat out rhythms. It’s seductive to hear that beat, and intoxicating, and astonishing in how it’s done. Sometimes the sound patters suggest rain; sometimes just the beat of a drum. The two dancers are masterful in their cohesive dancing inside that circle of rhythmic blocks.


Opened: April 26, 2017.
Saw it: April 27, 2017.
Closes: April 30, 2017.

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