I had forgotten about this play until the morning of. Realising that my schedule was already tightly packed, I was on the verge of asking that someone else take my reviewer’s ticket.
But something stopped me; perhaps it was the lake calling.
Pardon the cliché. Should I have ignored the ‘call’, I would have made a terrible mistake. Mirror’s Edge is a must see. No, you must see it! Its message is vital for all ages and backgrounds, for residents in and foreigners to Australia.
Set in the heart of the Mallee, regional Victoria, characters from three different ages and backgrounds encounter together the beauty of the night sky reflected in the salt-crusted and almost-forgotten Lake Tyrell. By approaching the water at just the right time, they are conflicted by contradictions of what is culturally and socially right or wrong, contradictions which remain highly relevant and are evoked across time. These include prejudice, judgement, blame, truth, trust, honour, respect and loss. Furthermore, the play asks questions of its audience: Why is it that Aboriginal, Chinese and British heritage still conflict, even when they do so subtly? Have we any idea what it’s like to live in a country that doesn’t make them feel welcome? How does one best preserve their history: by hiding or selling their stories? “Do they stop hating us?” These are the complexities that beg to be heard.
But “just because you speak the loudest doesn’t mean you’re right.”
This script is phenomenal. To the writer, Kim Ho, I am in awe of your honour for culture and equality. The heart and soul you have poured into this reflection will certainly move many, encouraging them to look deeply into their own values and heritage and learn how to respect those of one another. I hope this gets published soon.
If what I’ve said so far is not enough, the script is also comical. An excellent balance.
The entire setting and atmosphere wraps you in 80 minutes dreamtime story telling. Merely two metres from the audience, the set rejects the Westernised ‘ideal’ of theatre. A profound intimacy is effectively created.
What’s more, the effects and sets used- smoke, sand and a screen for the sky- are a captivating escape. The lighting is fantastic, allowing for starry nights and campfires. Did I mention there is a real lake?
Costumes are appropriate according to the age the characters were in. Their simplicity enhances the intimate relationship with viewers.
To the cast: congratulations! Your efforts have paid off marvellously. Embodying such strong emotions is a difficult thing to achieve; translating them to an audience is another. You did both powerfully.
The brightest star on opening night was Antonia Yip Siew Pin, playing Lao Ghit. Her role was not the largest, however her entire body reflected the emotion she was portraying; not just her facial expressions, head and hands. Her eyes glistened and even the tilt of her head had a poetic disposition- very captivating.
Congratulations to everyone involved in script writing and editing, directing, lighting, video design, sound, costumes, production, staging and of course, the cast. Mirror’s Edge will certainly be one of the most impressive student productions of the year.
“We must never forget who we are, what we are… we have a choice.” Your choice now? Buy tickets to Mirror’s Edge; the seating area is very small so seats are strictly limited.
Union House Theatre’s Mirror’s Edge runs from July 27th – August 5th in the Union Theatre
Image credit: Bede McKenna