[Theatre – SA]
All the Things I Couldn’t Say
Rumpus Theatre, Flinders Drama Centre
Wednesday 27 Sep 2023
In our new world of instant communication and no more ‘mainstream,’ where everyone has freedom of expression on the internet, people get to voice their opinions, to speak out. But when it comes to saying stuff to those closest to us, it seems there are all sorts of filters, barriers, conventions, not to mention our emotions, doubts and presumptions that cause us to edit our speech. The result is that we often don’t vocalise the real message. We dance around it, and it may never get spoken.
Being totally based on a collection of ‘things people have always wanted to say, or nearly said, but couldn’t,’ I wondered how actors could translate this very verbal piece into theatre. The six-person ensemble do a fantastic job of bringing the intricacies of relationships to life. Using dance, songs and solid acting technique, combined with snappy projections, music and an excellent script, the show flows flawlessly. While it dives deep into serious issues of loneliness, depression, emotional connections and the age of AI, etc. humour is ever-present to some degree, even when un-said and simply built into the set-up of the scene.
The feisty feminist manifesto song and dance also manages to state it with a smile, cabaret-style. The segment on body image and eating disorders has the mirror talking back to the person, asking for honesty. Their discussion develops into wider topics such as self-worth and success, and the mirror advises, ‘You have to say it out loud, otherwise it’s not real.’
There’s a very funny ‘running gag’ of a repeated scene with various ‘optional’ outcomes, providing a structural backbone through the show. And these are maybe really only in the minds of the characters. All the actors give strong performances, balancing and supporting each other in these diverse vignettes, each surprisingly fresh and different. I know it’s hard to imagine, but two people sitting on stage texting each other is riveting, precisely because we are allowed into their own intimate frailties and failings. The size of the texting in the opening scene could have been a little larger so I could follow what others were laughing about. The finale brings the whole cast together to face an abrupt, apocalyptic ending.
Presented by Deus Ex Femina
Written and Directed by Katherine Sortini
All the Things I Couldn’t Say continues at Flinders Drama Centre at various times until Sun 1 October.
Click HERE to purchase your tickets.