A Fractured Feeling (FringeTIX)
Transcendent Circle Productions @ Nexus Multicultural Arts Centre
7:00pm, Sat 24 Mar 2007
Taking advantage of the natural route between The Bosco and The Nexus, I decided to pick up my penultimate order of tickets from FringeTIX whilst heading to A Fractured Feeling. As I approached the counter, I was recognised by a crowd of people milling about considering their evening’s entertainment options for having been at a performance with them previously: “Hey, aren’t you that guy?”
Anyhoo, I collect my tickets, and a friendly FringeTIX employee offered me a couple of tickets for A Fractured Feeling for nix. I showed her my pre-purchased ticket; she smiled in that “I should have known” manner. The freebies worried me though; was I going to be the only one there? Continuing the trek down to Morphett Street saw me trapped behind the South African team from the Police & Fireman’s Games, rollicking along with all manner of chanting goodwill. That brought a big cheesey grin to my face.
So – waiting in line, chatting with a few other punters, and up rolls the aforementioned crowd from FringeTIX. Much mirth-filled accusations of stalking and incredulous how-many-shows follows. That sentence is choc-a-bloc full of grammatical wrongness, but hey – I’m 15 events behind, let’s just roll with it ;)
Entering the theatre, we see the space has been set up “in the round” – seating lines the walls of the room, with a large circular “stage” marked out in chalk. The circle is split into quarters by four hanging drapes; these somewhat transparent screens allow the audience to observe action across the entire stage. We’re encouraged to move around the stage as the performance progresses; no-one does. In fact, my initial seating position – selected only because of a base attraction to cleavage – served me admirably throughout.
It soon becomes apparent that each quadrant is inhabited by one personality populating the (presumably) principal character of Leeni. As we follow Leeni’s relationships with her lover, closest friend, and mother, the characterisations of the different personalities physically substitute Leeni in the scene and, occasionally, will confront each other in psyche battles that range in emotion from caring to caustic to violent. Whilst initially concerned with the impact of her Dissociative Identities in the everyday, the piece soon coagulates into a frantic search for the cause of Leeni’s disorder; the conclusion of the performance, perhaps fittingly, leaves us with an uneasy feeling of only partial resolution.
The set is genius – we can see personalities manically scribbling on the floor in chalk whilst they’re in the background, and the revelatory sequence with the literal tearing down of the screens separating the characters is fantastic. The personalities themselves – the gorgeous Leeni, the sugar-and-spice child-like Charlotte, the scornfully sneering tough-ass Jodie, and the almost completely repressed Kevin – work brilliantly well together. I have to admit, though, that I think the mysterious Kevin was “introduced” far too early; he spent much of the first half of the performance ominously slinking around the stage, creating an edgy and gritty mood. The overt explanation of his existence in Leeni’s psyche somewhat lessened his presence.
Despite the fact that it was probably about 10 minutes too long, I liked A Fractured Feeling; but a tangible sense of respect developed when I read (via the program) that the director & set designed guided the creation of the piece through her own experiences dealing with Dissociative Identity Disorder. That knowledge effectively alleviated my initial fear – that the performance would perhaps marginalise this affliction – and made me appreciate the great direction even more.