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Solace - ARA Darling Quarter Theatre (NSW)

Created by Milk Crate Theatre Collaborative Artists and the Milk Crate Theatre + Box of Birds / Stalker Theatre Artistic Team

Reviewed by Justin Clarke

ARA Darling Quarter Theatre, Sydney

Until December 2nd, 2023


- Providing a peak at what digital projection is capable of in theatre, 'Solace' is a short delight -

What do you turn to for comfort, and what happens when you can't get that thing? Milk Crate Theatre and Box of Birds/Stalker Theatre join forces to bring to life a psychological and metaphysical production utilising bold new interactive digitial projection to delve into the pursuit of comfort. The result is a large scale performance with stunning visual pieces, compacted into the ARA Darling Quarter Theatre.

Solace (2023). Images by Robert Catto.

The idea of comfort is something that has become mainstream in recent years, mainly due to the rise of the COVID epidemic and the cost of living uncertainty that's resulted from it. Co-Directors Margot Politis (Milk Crate) and David Clarkson (Box of Birds) join together to explore the terrain of what this craving for comfort looks like in the world. From extremes such as being isolated on a deserted island, to the eradication of our natural world that will eventually find its way to a museum, Politis and Clarkson offer small snippets of what seems to be a test for a larger story.

With performers Kerry Bashford, Lana-Marie Filies, Matthias Nudl, Alana Pienkosz, Darlene Proberts and Nick Vagne embodying the stories, audiences are guided through movement, sound and projections to stunning effect. Matt Hughes' projection design mixed with Prema Yin's sound design is an absolutely gorgeous pairing. Visual delights are thrown across the back of the stage covering the performers in certain parts with beaded waves that drift ever so slightly in and out, while lagged projections mimic their movements moving from two to three dimensional figures in space. All of this focuses on adding to the overall atmosphere of sound and light that casts the stories adrift in time and space.

Be sure to stay behind afterwards and have a play yourself!

Running under an hour, Solace felt like a toe dipped in the water of a much larger idea that bubbles beneath the surface. Seeing this fully formed into a realised production would make for a much more ambitious piece of theatre - moreseo than it already is - that would be superbly crafted for the independent stage.

If you have some time in your day, stop by the Darling Quarter Theatre after dinner and see for yourself what theatrical projections are capable of. Be sure to stay behind afterwards and have a play of it yourself!


CREATIVE TEAM Created by: Milk Crate Theatre Collaborative Artists and the Milk Crate Theatre + Box of Birds / Stalker Theatre Artistic Team Co-Directors: Margot Politis (MCT) and David Clarkson (BoB) Assistant Director: Alex Travers Key Support Artist: Lucy Watson Milk Crate Theatre Social Worker: Laura Hurstfield Devisers and Performers: Kerry Bashford, Lana Filies, Matthias Nudl, Alana Pienkosz, Darlene Proberts, Nick Vagne PRODUCTION TEAM Cast Producer: Alex Travers Event Producer: Jessica Saras Production Manager: Rick Everett Digital Artist: Matt Hughes Sound Designer: Prema Yin Lighting Design & Production Consultant: Mike Smith Photography: Robert Catto The content warnings for this show are subject to change, as the work is devised and content may alter up until presentation.

Content warnings include: Mental Health themes; Potential flashing lights, smoke and haze; Recommended for audiences aged 15+


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