Oresting: Belvoir’s Small and Tired

The first thing you notice is the smell. The moist wet earthy smell of dirt and grass. A garden, a backyard. Flowers. It smells fulsome, vaguely animal, like a children’s petting farm. Like lambs. And I’m instantly, eerily, reminded of Company B’s production of Love Me Tender Upstairs in 2010, of Colin Moody standing on that little slither of grass holding the lamb in his arms, staring out at the audience. It’s a curious reminder, too, since both Love Me Tender and this play, Kit Brookman’s Small and Tired, share the character of Iphigenia, drawn from Greek mythology.
Set now, in a world we could safely say is our own, Brookman’s play unfolds with an intoxicating mix of warmth, humanity, gentle humour and a strangely compelling sense of being part of something much bigger and uncontainable. Loosely adapted from the myth of Orestes, Clytaemnestra, Electra, and Agamemnon, Small and Tired tells the story of Orestes’ return following his father’s death, and the tensions and conversations he has with his family that erupt and flare and conflagrate over his arrival back into their lives after half a lifetime’s absence in one way or another.


Still orbiting: Griffin Independent & ARTHUR’s Return to Earth

Two years ago, after Lally Katz’s Neighbourhood Watch wove its magic at Belvoir, I set about trying to find as many of her plays as I could find, either in performance or in script form. When Griffin announced their 2013 season a year ago, I was very keen to see Katz’s Return to Earth, in its Sydney premiere, as I had heard mixed reviews of its premiere season in 2011 at the Melbourne Theatre Company. Presented here by ARTHUR as part of the Griffin Independent season, Return to Earth is very much a Lally Katz play, and I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or otherwise.
Return to Earth is about Alice, a thirty-something year old woman who returns to her family home in the sleepy coastal town of Tathra in NSW, and the impact her return has on her family, her friends, and the people she meets. In typical Katz fashion, the surreal and whimsical smashes right up against the poignant and heartfelt, yet it feels as though there is an elephant in the subtext of the play which no one is addressing.