06 September 2018

Review: In a Heartbeat

In a Heartbeat
Barking Spider Visual Theatre and La Mama
originally commissioned by Monash Centre for Theatre and Performance
5 September
La Mama Courthouse
to 9 September
lamama.com.au

In a Heartbeat. Barking Spider

Barking Spider Visual Theatre make theatre experiences from memories and stories, and it's impossible to leave a show without finding forgotten memories of your own.

They start with collected personal stories. For In a Heartbeat, the stories were from people living in the dementia unit of a residential aged care facility. Their stories about love and relationships were collected by students from the Monash Centre for Theatre and Performance, who originally developed the piece at university and performed it for the residents of the facility.

Some of the storytellers found the stories familiar, but didn't remember telling them. One story teller was 104-years-old and died before the first performance; his words are some of the last spoken in the show.

It was such a heart-overflowing delight that it had to be seen again.

Knocking on the wooden door at the La Mama Courthouse, you're met by young performers in a 1950's memory of pastels, floral and pearls. Taking us to tables set for tea with bright table cloths and warm tea pots, each host tells stories. It's like a chamber orchestra of voices as each tell the same verbatim stories to each table – which are being played to them through earpieces and are recordings of the original storytellers.

In a Heartbeat is memories of tea cups and homemade biscuits, of silver tea spoons and glass sugar bowls, of gingham and crochet, of being young and being loved, of being old and being loved, of dancing, and of being a particle of love in space.

Now, I wonder if I have the ingredients in my kitchen to make my grandmother's rockcakes.


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