Review By Louisa Polson
Housed in a repurposed car garage on Redfern Street you will find Sarah Carroll’s new theatre work, ‘Unkissed’ playing until this Sunday. A light-hearted frenzy, ‘Unkissed’ \is written and performed by the young theatre maker currently taking part in Shopfront’s, emerging artist residency program, ArtsLab. Through this program Sarah was able to be mentored by Australian playwright, Yve Blake.
‘Unkissed’ came about after Sarah came to the sudden realisation that at the age of 20, unlike most people her age, she had not been kissed. This show focuses solely on the overly hyped but more often than not mediocre experience of kissing, particularly the experience of this activity for the first time. In an effort to take charge and come to terms with this realisation Sarah has created a one woman show to document a series of thoughts and feelings about this experience.
The show is performed in a black box theatre where the audience is level with the performer in the room, which can at times present viewing challenges for the audience. However, this intimate setting works to the benefit of the performer as the show has the feeling of an unrestrained exchange between friends having an in-depth conversation. It’s great to see young women taking up space and sharing their thoughts in this way. ‘Unkissed’ is not a traditional play, it is the manifestation of an internal monologue. This light-hearted show speaks to a youthful audience who will ironically be able to relate to the anxieties and feeling of isolation that come with not always being at the same place as your friends.
As you enter the space the stage is set with a glittering backdrop and a television screen displaying a montage of well-known kissing scenes. Sarah enters the space in a fun outfit featuring pink and red love heart top. The setting and costuming compliments Carroll’s personality and theme, creating a fun atmosphere that welcomes the audience into her world.
Armed with a clear motivation Sarah wittingly structures her thoughts into a ten-part pink hued PowerPoint presentation. Without any other actors on stage to bounce off of, Sarah brings enough energy to fill the room and spontaneously interacts with the seated guests, which keeps viewers on edge of their seats as they never know what to prepare for. The show follows the audience outside of the set stage after the show as Sarah has created a complimentary installation, ‘wall of kissing’ that invites the audience to express their take on the idea, once again prompting the audience to take Sarah up on the conversational approach of this piece, tearing down the fourth wall.
Sarah’s performance was fun and bubbly. It is always impressive to see a performer take on a solo work, especially at a considerable run time of 50 minutes. Sarah never let the energy drop and the fast pace never allowed for the audience to disassociate, but instead made them eager to take part in the experience. Sarah’s evidently a very talented storyteller in both her ability to make engaging content and perform the work in a colourful fashion.
Sarah Carroll’s ‘Unkissed’ runs from Wednesday November 23rd – Sunday November 30th at the 107 Projects in Redfern, alongside Varuna Naicker’s Dalo Chips and Imli Chutney.
Image Credit: Clare Hawley and provided by Shopfront