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somewhere south @ chippen street theatre

[usr 3]

D. H. Lawrence’s character talks about a fresh experiment, referring
to living in Australia and the opportunity to escape the oppressive
class structure and political and social problems of Europe. In
SOMEWHERE SOUTH, playwright and director Geoffrey Sykes has
created his own fresh experiment blending drama, verse, magic
realism, movement and narration to examine the ideas and lives
of David and Frieda Lawrence during their time in Australia.

The play observes the many benefits of living in Australia. Frieda
is enamoured by the light, taking walks along the beach and the
friendly and open local people. David surrounded by glorious nature,
sees the possibility of societal reforms, and encounters some
enigmatic characters that have strong but under-developed ideas on
politics and a new way of living. After having his books banned in
Britain, and observing the rise of fascism and the stagnation of
European socialism, Lawrence is open to ideas of change and
restructuring.

The story also covers what an opportunity the peacefulness of
Thirroul presents for his writing and examines the advice and
mentoring Ezra Pound gave him regarding his writing. That the
novels he had written were banned or denigrated in Europe has
negatively affected his psyche, and along with his illness and
need for income, has made him willing to write a mediocre novel
in a popular style. Woven into these musings about writing,
climate, politics and society is the complex relationship between
David and Frieda. Their bond is intense and allows playwright
Geoffrey Sykes to explore the interplay between reason and
emotion.

The many components happening in this play are paralleled by the
numerous inputs: dialogue, narration, projections of Garry Shead
images and some performers dance like movements. Parts of the
novel, Kangaroo, that Lawrence wrote based on his time in Australia,
are referenced in the play. The program notes describe Kangaroo as
a “disjointed work, with some parts of high literary merit.”
SOMEWHERE SOUTH reflects this combination of disjointedness
and artistry both in the text and the multifaceted
production. It is a thought provoking piece and made me want
to return to, and read, more of D. H. Lawrence’s work.

Pick of the actors was Mel Day playing the powerful character Frieda.
The remaining cast was Shaun Foley, Katrina Maskell and Dominic
Collier. The use of Garry Shead images about the Lawrences and
Kangaroo is an interesting and clever point of the production.
Lighting by Curtis Pazderka. AV design by Geoffrey Sykes. Tech operation
and stage management by Eve Wilkes. SOMEWHERE SOUTH is at
the Chippen Street Theatre and runs until 12th November.

 

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