RSVP, Jennifer Williams, Cathie Clinton, Yvonne Coughlan
2 October 2011
Clifton Creative Arts Centre, 314 Church St, Richmond
to 9 October
This year, my Melbourne Fringe highlights have been the artists who have shared their stories. Story is a complicated concept. You can spend years reading all the discussion about how to create one or you can realise that everybody has a story and that yours is just as important, interesting and moving as any other. No Matter Where You Go, There You Are is Jennifer's and Cathie's stories.
Jennifer Williams and Cathie Clinton haven't been in the same room yet. Jennifer moved from Sydney to Ireland last year and Cathie moved from Ireland to Melbourne, and with director Yvonne Coughlan they've created a night of intimate and personal theatre through email and Skype.
In a large Richmond gallery, Cathie directly shares her stories and we watch Jennifer's on screen, and Yvonne creates balance and an equally intimate atmosphere for each woman. The distance of performing to camera frees Jennifer to talk about the issues that really matter to her and her large screen presence creates genuine closeness. Meanwhile, Cathie is introduced from the far side of the room, so the same closeness is developed slowly.
For it's delicate theatricality and gorgeous use of space, what makes this experience so intimate is the honesty of the performers. This solitary nature of the original development process seems to have created the safety to dig deep and find those authentic moments of truth that resonate far beyond a common experience.
Their's nothing extraordinary about Cathie's and Jennifer's experiences of leaving home and travelling, their doubts about being an artist and the drug of audience approval, or their fears of wondering who would want to see two neurotic women talk about their fears – but it's the normality of their stories that makes their telling extraordinarily beautiful.
The next incarnation of this project will include actors in Portland, USA, and Adelaide
The night I saw No Matter Where You Go, There You Are, there were three people in the audience. This was disappointing, but brilliant because it intensified the intimacy and made our tiny group personally invested in making the experience supportive.
There's so much to see this last Fringe weekend, but this is on until Sunday if you can squeeze it in.
This review first appeared on AussieTheatre.com (luckily!)