Review by James Mukheibir
“Does it mark time passing, an object that remains while all around it changes?”
We all have objects in our lives that occupy a special place. This special place may not be physical (many of my own special objects are hidden away in boxes) but rather a special place in the gallery of our lives. Capturing a moment, time or feeling; these objects fill us with nostalgia or comfort us with their familiarity.
Window, Cricket Bat, presented by Griffin Theatre Company alongside the Happy Objects exhibition at the Australian Design Centre, is an immersive experience in story-telling of many kinds. The space is opened 30 minutes before the show begins and I encourage you to arrive a little early and to take the time to wander through the gallery, and experience the anthropological celebration of objects imbued with memories and love. From Kenny’s tiny silver Tabasco case to Alex’s dancing shoes, these inanimate objects glow with untold stories and I couldn’t help but to wonder where they had been and what they had seen to be elevated to such an important status by their owners.
In the program provided to each attendee, the objects are brought to life through warmy told stories, and after two years of isolation from strangers, it was wonderful to feel an intimate moment with others as I looked upon one of their most treasured possessions. These are truly happy objects.
The theatre aspect of the evening continued on this theme of bringing people together. Without elaborate lights, sounds or sets, the energetic monologue took the simple gallery space and imbued it with life and soul. As the piece develops we are transported into the wide-eyed story of a young woman exploring the world (no mean feat with one of the busiest streets in Sydney rumbling outside the glass walls). The script by Hilary Bell sparkles with colour and crackles with wit, while capturing the warm belly glow of thinking back on good times passed. Lucia Mastrantone is fabulous, as she ducks and weaves between characters and voices, animating the space and the story as she brings the energy and verve that audiences will know and love from her previous work. The gentle and funny audience interaction felt reflective of the connection forged between object and observer in the gallery, as she pulled audience members into her story for just a moment and the world of her tale sprung to life through them.
The creativity and simplicity in bringing this story to life is plenty of fun and you can’t help but fall in love with each of the goofy characters. The entire creative team deserves credit for making great theatre with limited resources available to them and the thematic collaboration between the performance and the exhibition made both all the more enjoyable.
Window, Cricket Bat and Happy Objects have stuck with me and I find myself noticing the objects in my life that hold meaning, and I would recommend anyone to go along to this unique evening of theatre.
Window, Cricket Bat is running until 21 January 2022, and the Happy Objects exhibition is open until 25 January 2022.
Image Credit: Clare Hawley