Starweaver
The Void, Flinders University Drama Centre
Thurs 27 June

It’s 2149 and stars are no longer visible to the average inhabitant of planet Earth. Much of the Earth is controlled by Cosmos, a multi-planet corporation. Cosmos is about to unveil an initiative to enable citizens of Earth with enough cash to take a journey to a space resort with full access to the night sky.

There’s a resistance movement gathering momentum who are not too happy about this privatization of the night sky and the action begins with a noisy protest demonstration that is  violently dispersed by Cosmos.

In the ensuing chaos our chief protagonist, Cato, finds herself at the mercy of the resistance whose HQ is on an abandoned oil rig with gardens, sophisticated communications centre, and quite luxurious sleeping quarters.

Cato is an engaging character – part waif, part rebel, part tech geek – and is beautifully played by Ellen Graham. She becomes quite close to Cassius, (Jamie Hornsby) and the boss of the resistance, a part human/part cyborg called Terra. Maeve Hook’s portrayal of Terra is suitably dynamic – she’s an engaging presence and easily wears the mantle of commander and enforcer.

Sprinkled in amongst the worrying plot about the future of Earth and its inhabitants are scenes where Druid-like creatures waft in and out in clokes and hoods basking in strange rituals that apparently give them direct communication with the stars. These are the Starweavers, and they form an alliance with Cato and the resistance to restore power back to the people and break the hold that Cosmos has on human existence.

As you can see, the stakes are high and the goals seemingly unattainable. And it is at this point that Starweaver starts to overreach. As it often is with sci-fi one has to suspend disbelief to ride with the narrative but one doesn’t have to solve all the problems of the universe in one setting!

There is a tangible urgency about Starweaver as long as the participants are all united by a common enemy. Once their first goal is achieved and celebrations were in order the level of intensity and focus fell away somewhat.

Plot and character however are in a very real sense sidelined by the production values of this kind of show. We are treated to spectacular scenes courtesy of the large scale screen as backdrop. I really enjoyed watching Cassius and Cato mime running through city streets, and the view of the oil rig was awesome. Regular players of video games may find these backdrops a bit weak (scale may be a factor here) but rest assured they are only going to get better. And fast. In the meantime we might consider Starweaver a kind of template as to where sci-fi theatre may go.

Lots of hi-tech geekery was on display – cyborg hacking, communicating with remote intelligence, holograms, large AI creatures hanging in space embodying fear and wonder.

Really quite an amazing spectacle with solid performances from the main cast members, and plenty to reflect on concerning the nature of existence, especially the function and role of memory.

4 stars

Michael Coghlan

Presented by Madness of Two 
Written by Jamie Hornsby and Ellen Graham
Directed by Shannon Rush

#TheClothesline

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Starweaver The Void, Flinders University Drama Centre Thurs 27 June It’s 2149 and stars are no longer visible to the average inhabitant of planet Earth. Much of the Earth is controlled by Cosmos, a multi-planet corporation. Cosmos is about to unveil an initiative to enable citizens of Earth with enough cash to take a journey to a space resort with full access to the night sky. There’s a resistance movement gathering momentum who are not too happy about this privatization of the night sky and the action begins with a noisy protest demonstration that is  violently dispersed by Cosmos. In the ensuing chaos our chief protagonist, Cato, finds herself at the mercy of the resistance whose HQ is on an abandoned oil rig with gardens, sophisticated communications centre, and quite luxurious sleeping quarters. Cato is an engaging character – part waif, part rebel, part tech geek – and is beautifully played by Ellen Graham. She becomes quite close to Cassius, (Jamie Hornsby) and the boss of the resistance, a part human/part cyborg called Terra. Maeve Hook’s portrayal of Terra is suitably dynamic – she’s an engaging presence and easily wears the mantle of commander and enforcer. Sprinkled in amongst the worrying plot about the future of Earth and its inhabitants are scenes where Druid-like creatures waft in and out in clokes and hoods basking in strange rituals that apparently give them direct communication with the stars. These are the Starweavers, and they form an alliance with Cato and the resistance to restore power back to the people and break the hold that Cosmos has on human existence. As you can see, the stakes are high and the goals seemingly unattainable. And it is at this point that Starweaver starts to overreach. As it often is with sci-fi one has to suspend disbelief to ride with the narrative but one doesn’t have to solve all the problems of the universe in one setting! There is a tangible urgency about Starweaver as long as the participants are all united by a common enemy. Once their first goal is achieved and celebrations were in order the level of intensity and focus fell away somewhat. Plot and character however are in a very real sense sidelined by the production values of this kind of show. We are treated to spectacular scenes courtesy of the large scale screen as backdrop. I really enjoyed watching Cassius and Cato mime running through city streets, and the view of the oil rig was awesome. Regular players of video games may find these backdrops a bit weak (scale may be a factor here) but rest assured they are only going to get better. And fast. In the meantime we might consider Starweaver a kind of template as to where sci-fi theatre may go. Lots of hi-tech geekery was on display – cyborg hacking, communicating with remote intelligence, holograms, large AI creatures hanging in space embodying fear and wonder. Really quite an amazing spectacle with solid performances from the main…

The Clothesline Rating:

Michael Coghlan

Really quite an amazing spectacle. A bold template of what might be possible for sci-fi theatre.

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