Collapsible - Red Line Productions (NSW)
Written by Margaret Perry. Co-Directed by Zoë Hollyoak and Morgan Moroney
Reviewed by Justin Clarke
Old Fitzroy Theatre, Woolloomooloo
9 March - 1st April
- Do you ever feel like a collapsible chair? It's no Katy Perry , but it is utilised well in Red Line Production's 'Collapsible' -
Job hunting can be an arduous task. Gaining control over our sense of identity can be even more arduous. Both collide in Margaret Perry’s one woman show Collapsible to contort realities and divulge underlying secrets in one’s personality, all under some developing use of tech.
Esther (Janet Anderson) or Essie as she is so commonly referred to, attempts to gather adjectives to describe herself from those closest to her. The list, a glittering silver piece of paper, is used to describe herself in the seemingly never-ending job hunt that she endures. Living in a post-breakup life, Collapsible harnesses tech-savvy abstract theatre to question the concept of identity itself.
Zoë Hollyoak and Morgan Moroney come together to deliver a visually rich and aesthetic piece of theatre. Combined with Hayden Relf’s isolating set (itself filled with hidden treasures) and Moroney and Daniel Herten’s video projections, there is an experimental feeling about the entire production, led with vigour by Anderson’s performance.
Images by Phil Erbacher
Anderson harnesses an impressive control of humour, taking on multiple accents and moments of physical and mental contortion to take us into Essie’s psyche. Impersonations that have an air of a Tik Tok inspiration form when Essie is in discussion with her sister, waiting in a lobby with a HR representative, or conversing with her father. There is much for Anderson to chew on as she fights against the multitude of ideas embedded into Perry’s writing.
A final scene disruption turns the story on its head. A single moment of bewilderment that changes the lens through which to discuss the true meaning of Essie’s story post-show in the foyer. It’s a powerful, yet simple tool utilised by the directors.
Anderson harnesses an impressive control of humour
The experimental use of video in the production feels, well, experimental. It never truly takes full control over the elements at play to become a feature that takes the story beyond its constraints. There are some stunning moments to behold, close ups of Essie’s face, boring into Anderson’s pupils, are aided by Moroney’s use of shades in the lighting design.
Knowing winks of abstract theatre, with fun visuals and moments of self-deprecation bring you into the world of Collapsible. The question of whether one truly knows themselves, or if our sense of being is built on the adjectives told to us, lingers with you after the lights dim and the tech is switched off.
Written by Margaret Perry
Co-created by Janet Anderson, Daniel Herten, Zoë Hollyoak, Morgan Moroney & Hayden Relf.
Co-Directors - Zoë Hollyoak & Morgan Moroney
Produced by essential workers
Set & Costume Designer - Hayden Relf
Lighting & co-Video Designer - Morgan Moroney
Composer, Sound & co-Video Designer - Daniel Herten
Assistant Producer - Kate Bolton
Stage Manager - Isabella Milkovitsch
Starring: Janet Anderson