Review date: 11/10/2018
I know Amy, the writer, director and performer of this play about menstruation. We’ve been in a writer’s group together and she pops up all over the place in different creative roles. Despite this, I felt like her show Period. was going to be bloody disgusting and very awkward. The marketing material was enough to make even the most experienced bleeders look twice in shock. Wow, I was exhausted that night and I hoped I wouldn’t have to sit there for too long because I was worried I might fall asleep.
I should have had more faith in Amy because she revealed an incredible depth of skill in her ‘World Premiere’ of this show. It was bloody fantastic! Amy played Karla, an innocent eleven-year-old girl coming to terms with getting her period for the first time. Karla’s role is all mimed. That might sound boring, but Amy actually made me realise how much lazier an actor could be when they rely on dialogue to act out their role. Her expressions and character were absolutely delightful, perfectly capturing the innocence and confusion of a child discovering new things. Karla’s mother is all dialogue and no acting—this role is voiced by Amy too. Karla’s mother—delivered like an omniscient being from the sound system—talks Karla through the changes her body is experiencing. There are some hilarious, and some very touching moments. It was heartening to hear so many males in the crowd laughing uproariously, I thought they were brave to even come along but after seeing the show it is obvious that you don't need to have ovaries to enjoy the show.
There were a plethora of great props which I am not going to go into detail about here because some things just have to remain a surprise and my descriptions will not do them the justice they deserve. There’s some excellent skills displayed with puppetry too, and if Amy created all those things she deserves a bloody award. What surprised me the most was how ‘not gross’ it was. Her particular mixture of child-like curiosity, play, and honesty dealt with what is usually a hidden and taboo subject in a very tidy way. I didn’t leave feeling dirty and horrified, I left feeling so astonished and happy at what a fun show I had just seen. I personally think this show should travel round the country being shown at schools because it is a brilliant, funny, non-awkward way to talk about a bloody annoying topic.
I think Amy might have worked long and hard on this project. She seems to have thought of every little detail. Her acting skills were exceptional and her connection with the audience incredibly natural and relaxed. You could say it simply flowed beautifully. I’d like to take my daughters to it but its short run here is already finished. We can only hope it comes back for a second showing, maybe on a monthly cycle....
This was top notch. I’m proud to have been at the ‘World Premiere’ of Amy Atkins’ Period.
Director: Jenna Kelly
There will be those of you out there that think that theatre going is ‘not your thing’, that it is ‘stuffy’ and ‘boring’ and you’d rather go to a movie or off to the pub. You’re wrong. It’s a brave act to step into a theatre and have a story acted out at you. You can’t close the book and walk away for a while—you’re there without seat belts and with no idea what kind of terrain you’re about to encounter. In a small theatre like The Darkroom in Palmerston North you might not expect to see anything exceptional—you’re wrong again.
Last night I took my teenage daughter to see Jenna Kelly’s version of Maya Levy’s Daughters. I’ll never forget it. I feel emotional trying to write this review and I want to find a way to implore you to go and see it without sounding like I’m trying to make a sales pitch or am getting royalties from ticket sales(I’m not). I don’t want to give much away either which limits what I can say…
Basically, Jenna has cast nine males to deliver the monologues of what were originally written as teenage girls’ narratives. Each monologue offers a glimpse inside the life of a teenager and covers topics such as gender norms, sexuality, social problems, drugs and so on. What stands out in these narratives is that even though they are being delivered by an all-male cast, there is almost no denying that they are all female voices. Imagine the ghost of a teenage girl wearing the flesh of a teenage boy. It is hauntingly beautiful.
I want to commend the whole cast for an excellent job but there were two stand-out acts for me. Callum Goacher brought tears to my eyes by showing powerful vulnerability in silent moments, and Léon Bristow hollowed out my chest and chucked my heart in my hands as a take home gift from his 18th birthday party. I’ve repeated a summary of Léon’s monologue to my family a few times now and have yet to manage it with dry eyes.
As this is a monologue driven show the use of props is at a bare minimum but when they are used they are powerful – never more so than in Léon’s act ‘Gift’.
While this show is at times traumatic it is also cleverly and tenderly delivered offering relief with some lighter and relatable content. There are laugh out loud moments and profound silences—just like real life. I’ll never forget this show.
When I got home my husband was watching the end of a sci-fi movie. I couldn’t help but notice how the actors were substandard compared with what I’d just experienced at the Darkroom. With all the movie’s special effects and ‘stars’ there was nothing but artificial emotion and a tired and clichéd story line. I got up and did the groceries on my iPad while it finished…
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