Posted by Danni Le Toullec on December 2, 2009
Have you ever had that dream where you find yourself in public wearing nothing but your undies?
Okay, now minus the underwear and put yourself in front of about 200 people, whilst remembering lines for a three hour production. Difficult is a bit of an understatement.
The Mysteries: Genesis is the debut performance for the Sydney Theatre Company’s troupe of permanent actors, The Residents. And yes, it must be said, there is a lot of nudity. Playwrights Hilary Bell and Lally Katz have reworked the biblical narratives of the Creation, the Fall, the Expulsion from Eden, Cain and Abel and Noah’s Ark.
Under the directorship of Matthew Lutton, Andrew Upton and Tom Wright, The Residents have certainly come out with a bang.
The Sound Designer Kingsley Reeve perfectly captured the raw emotion of this unique performance. The revamped space of Wharf 2 was intimate enough for each note to grip the audience and create a stage which was a character in itself.
The first act was certainly the most compelling, with inventive lighting from Paul Jackson plunging the theatre into total and complete darkness. It lasted just long enough for the audience to lose their bearings and feel the need to touch the ground, just to make sure they hadn’t floated away.
The stage was transformed into a wintry Eden, and God himself wandered around naked, patting down the small peaks of polystyrene with his feet. He creates the world as tiny white particles come down from the ceiling and surround him. A cheeky penguin represents all of Gods’ creatures and offers some comic relief from the more serious religious overtones.
The second act started off on a lighter note and with a lot more clothing. The space had been transformed so that the audience could mill around the bottom level as a band played on the upper floor. The tunes created the illusion of a dingy booze den. Their take on Velvet Underground's 'Run, Run, Run' was a definite highlight.
Act three opens with a tower of eight mattresses and a sleeping Noah. He desperately listens to his malfunctioning radio, waiting for God to communicate with him.
The flood rages and smothers the air with the sound of slashing rain and angry winds. Suddenly, all is quiet and a blue light eats up the base of the mattresses. The world has been washed clean.
Creation leads to destruction and for each time sins are washed away, the insidious tide creeps back. To err is to be human, and on the bright side, it sure makes for exciting theatre.
Photographer: Brett Boardman