Urban Myth Senior Ensemble @ Queen’s Theatre 2
10:30pm, Tue 13 Mar 2012
I often write about how much I love watching dance, yet make no claims about understanding dance.
This evening, watching Weepie, I quite unexpectedly got that feeling from a theatrical production; walking out of the theatre that night I was left floundering, but was gobsmacked by what I’d just seen… and also by the people who performed it.
But I had no idea what story – or stories – had just been told. I’d walked into Weepie completely blind: on reading the ‘Guide, I’d seen “Urban Myth” and a late timeslot, and just circled and scheduled. That was it; that’s all I knew.
So when Chris Goode’s play (as I discovered through later reading) flipped between two young men training to brazenly kill, and a 12th century weeping mystic being interviewed about her prophetic visions… well, it’s a challenging proposal for an un-enlightened audience (i.e. me).
But it’s a tough ask on the actors, too – the two killers-in-training Petral (a somewhat compassionate, thoughtful character) and Edsel (whose thoughts and behaviours would immediately classify him as fucking psychopathic) alternate between – and sometimes intermix – dense verbal battles and bouts of violent wrestling. It’s almost a relief to switch back to the 12th century, where the pace is more sedate; but the weight of the dialogue doesn’t relent in the slightest.
Patrick Zoerner and Felix Alpers-Kneebone are exceptional in their roles (as Edsel and Petral, respectively), with Zoerner bringing an astonishingly bloody minded self-destruction to his character. Alpers-Kneebone’s character, despite being more measured his approach, still had to straddle a fine line where there was a believability to his need for violence, amidst a broader understanding of the world at large; Felix carries the role with aplomb.
And, despite the lack of set and sparse props, the look and feel of Weepie – as directed by first-timer Poppy Mee – was incredible; bold, vibrant, and assured.
As mentioned at the top of the post, I left this performance in a daze. I immediately bumped into a beaming Glenn Hayden (Artistic Director for Urban Myth); he was radiant. “What’d you think?” he asked, in the manner of someone showing you their newborn baby. “Mate… I don’t know what the fuck I just saw, but I know it was pretty fucking amazing.” Glenn’s smile widened even further. We talk more, interrupted by other people congratulating him; Poppy Mee drifts by, Glenn introduces her to me, and I immediately scare her by stumbling in a mouth-foaming manner through a description of how great her work was.
And then Glenn collars Felix Alpers-Kneebone. I congratulate him on his incredible effort, and Glenn casually says to him “oh… happy birthday, by the way.” He glances over at me to explain “Felix just turned eighteen.” And I immediately feel that familiar sense of admiration and jealous loathing – dear lord we have some incredible young talent in this state.