Be surprised to find yourself reflected on stage with Ranters Theatre’s new work, ‘Come Away With Me to the End of the World’ at the Malthouse Theatre. The real you, who ponders other’s reactions, and who speaks without thinking.
A mediation on morality, the environment, modern mores, and the nature of social communication, this play is based on twenty years of communal association of the actors, writers, directors, and theatremakers of Ranters. It reflects all that private lives entail: creating families, travel around the world, love and loss, grief, rebuilding, and the nature of mortality itself.
The cast present against a quirky backdrop of the Australian bush, which later combines with Himalayan mountains, snow, wind, and a wood fire. The set, by famed Australian architect Callum Morton, is playful and miniaturised. You feel as if you had gone on a camping trip with the cast.
Dressed in everyday clothes, the three main characters invite us in to an intimacy with their brief chats. It feels as if you are eavesdropping at a party or listening in on a workplace conversation. The pace and tone is hypnotic, combined with delivery which appears direct and frank.
The people depicted aren’t glorified or extraordinary. They present as people you’d meet in a yoga class, at the local supermarket, or across from you at a set of lights. They are Everyman and Everywoman.
Their stories are anecdotal — conversational snippets, observations, private poetry, memories, recollections and regrets — but reflect grand themes. The characters’ meditations are like those of mythological Greek characters who, through their foibles, show mortals the folly of human endeavour.
The depth of these revelations is interspersed with the absurd. Many stories will have you laughing out loud. Ordering too much at restaurants on dates, and modern dieting fads are sample topics. Then there are the live trees, a pagan god, and a lively incursion of passionate dance which adds colour.
An affecting night at the theatre, this lovely work is a testament to the long history of this company of auteurs who tell real stories of local lives with universal meaning. You will find you exhale deeply, ponder your own humanity and the things you tell yourself and others about your life and thoughts.
Sarah W. is a dance-trained theatre lover with a flair for the bold, and non-traditional performance platforms. On-the-street or in the box seat, she is always looking for quality works that push the envelope.
‘Come Away With Me to the End of the World’ runs 5-24 July 2016 at the Malthouse Theatre (113 Sturt St, Southbank). 8pm Tues-Sunday, matinee on 23 July at 3.30pm.
Book tickets now.
The venue is accessible.