From the creative powerhouse behind 2D Life of Her, Fleur Elise Noble, Rooman is the breathtakingly beautiful yet heart-wrenching tale of a girl who fatefully encounters a half-man-half-kangaroo one night in her dreams… and falls in love.
As I enter the theatre I am already drawn into Noble’s world, Rooman’s world, a world that feels raw, an eroded reality. Paper is torn and discarded, giant screens of varying shapes and sizes are strewn throughout the space, vivid projections are emblazoned on the screens and a crisp and precise soundscape is filling my head. I’m in.
Rooman is a tale told predominantly through projection. Multiple screens are employed throughout. Screens appear then they disappear, images are bold and clear and then they too are gone. I catch glimpses and then there is nothing. Is this a dream or a nightmare?
The technical ability required to run this show night after night is second-to-none. The choreography employed in the movement of screens is impressive; as projections move across the space, screens move too, and when they are gone a whole new reality is revealed. Where the girl’s world is drained of colour, anaemic and uninspiring, Rooman’s world can be colourful and vibrant. Rooman is her escape, but is he the answer?
In a performance where visions can be fleeting, sound is invasive. Permeating throughout Rooman is the soundscape. Each sound, whether it is the crinkling or paper or the rattle of an old elevator door feels like it is coming from inside my own head. Sound is the constant in a world where nothing else feels dependable.
Rooman himself, the half-man-half-kangaroo, has the air of a powerful and mythical figure, breathtakingly appearing as the piece takes its last, rattling, breath. In his presence, I too am now mesmerised, my eyes do not stray from him, he is majestic and magnificent. I understand.
By utilising her masterful command of projection, puppetry, drawing, and dance Noble has created a performance that bores its way in, it gets inside your mind and it sits with you long after you have left the theatre. Importantly, Noble has allowed every idea space to breath, nothing is rushed, every moment is considered, whole.
Is Rooman a playful nightmare or is it torn from the pages of a tormented children’s book? You decide. This is a show not to be missed.
Jen is a Kiwi living in Melbourne who loves puns, embroidery, and Stephen Fry.