We all know the feeling, what Eve calls 'that strange feeling'...we have finished our first week in the theatre with a beautiful opening night and a weekend of plays...each time we go on stage it is like entering a mini festival, knowing that we have the opportunity to present two contrasting stories about belonging, about home, about unhome about unbelonging...
Links to some fabulous reviews:
"Margi plays her part in the way only a seasoned professional who rehearses her butt off can – with absolute perfection. Nuanced, committed and exciting to watch, she is beautifully supported onstage by Travis Ash. He delivers sensitive and lovingly honed performances both when acting and also when performing musically. His music and sound design excellently enhance the emotional journey of Eve and her family".
"Actors Margi Brown Ash and Travis Ash have an understandably outstanding on-stage trust and rapport. Neither seeks to outshine the other, but both sparkle in their own ways. Margi has this energy and passion you feel is almost punk or jazz in its risk taking and unpredictability. Yet once she does or says something, you’re utterly convinced by her. Travis’s physical discipline, focus and controlled articulation provides a comforting counterpoint. His musical additions to the story were excellently executed".
Benjamin Knapton: designer/director/co-devisor of He Dreamed a Train
Photo by Stephen Henry
What I love about these two plays is their very contrasting nature, yet still focusing on belonging and not belonging. And I guess it makes sense, that we all belong in different ways...Eve, in EVE, creates her own belonging that does not necessarily equate to peace in the home. She is a writer and a passionate one at that. And I am reminded of Mary Oliver's quote:
Creative work needs solitude. It needs concentration, without interruptions. It needs the whole sky to fly in, and no eye watching until it comes to that certainty which it aspires to, but does not necessarily have at once. Privacy then, a place apart. (Mary Oliver)
This is all Eve wanted, a place to write "which is my blood". Perhaps that is why Angus and Robertson only published two of her books in 74 years...she did not have the privacy, a place apart, in which to write...she explains it like this:
"We managed, despite the pressures of marriage and children we still managed, sometimes, to work. Yet peevish and sullen words would fling themselves across the hut. You're bloody grumpy when you can't paint husband. So are you when you can't write wife. Am I the obstacle of your most precious work knowing full well that he and the children were mine. Poetry is not welcome in this house full of peevish men"
There was a reason for what the establishment called 'her madness': she explains that it was force of circumstance that created "a logical solution to my living arrangements".
On a similar note, the Woman in He Dreamed a Train, talks about dreams requiring means...we all have dreams, but in the Woman's case, the dreams of the brother were the ones that took priority in regard to the family. She says "We had so many dreams. But dreams require means. And you just smiled, and gave our means away".
Both women are accepting of what has happened. As we all end up accepting what happens in our lives, a crucial step in order to move on, to re-create. In Eve's case, she remained an outsider, yet she still found time to live in the moment. She never stopped writing, and in the play, her words become the planets and the stars. The Woman in Train finds a way of moving on, despite the grief of losing someone she loved, despite the family decisions that had been made...she moves on through ritual, a most healing act, taught to us by the gods.
So the ideas that you walk away with from both these plays, could be these:
1. Is it time to entertain the idea that perhaps this is where I belong right this minute?
2. Do I need solitude in order to write/act/paint/compose/dance/garden/cook/love and if i gift myself some solitude, some creative space, I will not only be a better artist, but a better mother, wife, friend...
3. Can Ritual heal? Whatever is happening in our lives, if we begin to see our day through ritual, then thing start to improve...20 minutes of meditation can change the way we are in the world. 20 minutes, not long, but can be life changing. So can walking...and we have a beautiful river on which to walk.
Travis Ash and Leah Mercer on the set of EVE, designed by Aaron Barton
Photo by Stephen Henry
I recommend the double bill:
You can also see just one of the plays: