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Conversation Generator: TILT

The TILT showcase from WAAPA’s Bachelor of Performing Arts is an annual tradition that gives theatre-goers a taste of what they can expect to see on the future stage.

Devised by the course’s graduating students it’s also an opportunity to gain insight on the wide scope of theatre genres and practices taught in this multi-faceted course (which covers performing, directing, writing and more). Split into two programs, each containing six plays, the TILT showcase is like a grazing table of theatre. I was lucky enough to catch Program 2.

No One Won the War. Photography by Stephen Heath.

Opening the program is No One Won the War, a two-hander featuring James Ford (writer) and Blair Duthie (director). Ford and Duthie immediately pique the audience’s interest with an absurdist flair to the piece which mixes a fear of the unknown with sprinklings of humour. They maintain an interesting dynamic between the two characters by giving them opposite personalities, one is brooding while the other is naïve. Ford has written this piece to fit well within the tight time parameters of the program (each performance is aprox 15-20 minutes), giving the sense of a full performance that is not rushed or cut short. 

With You With Me. Photography by Stephen Heath.

Combining physical theatre with live music, Rudi Palmela, Ashley Elliott and Renee Bottern take to the stage next to perform With You With Me. This sweet and intimate piece directed by Alexandra Veleval, is an excellent example of the different disciplines and styles of performance taught in the BPA course.

Bricks. Photography by Stephen Heath.

Bricks closes the first half of the program and leaves the audience on a high. This hilarious work is directed by Marli Hadeil and features magnetic performances by Leisl Lucerne-Knight (designer), Mazey O’Reily and Jack Martin. It takes the story of the creation of life from clay (told throughout many religions and mythologies) and flips it into a hilarious and poetic journey that defies constraints of gender expression. With glitter, live music, corsets, pearls, sequins and one impressive brick-person costume, Bricks is the epitome of what it means to have fun on stage.

Imelda. Photography by Stephen Heath.

The piece kicking off the second half of the program makes its subject abundantly clear with a large rack of shoes placed next to the theatre’s entrance. Imelda performed by Donita Cruz (writer, AV & Sound designer) and Jennifer Mackenzie is not a retelling of the life of Filipino political figure Imelda Marcos but a reflection on Cruz’s personal experience associated with the devastation and hurt inflicted by Imelda, and her family’s, political power. This confronting work is paired with striking visuals and has strong potential to be further developed into a longer piece of theatre.

Service, with a Smile! Photography by Stephen Heath.

Service, with a Smile! is a story uni students and hospitality workers know all too well. With the help of uplifting music and choreography, Sarah Milde, Mara Kremmidiotis, Caroline Sengkey, Renee Bottern and Rudi Palmela encapsulate the painful experience of waiters navigating angry customers and pushy managers. The piece has an almost sitcom like style with laugh-out-loud comedy pulling us through the chaos, while reminding us there is light at the end of the tunnel through the occasional co-worker connection or even rarer… a nice customer.

Monkey Machine. Photography by Stephen Heath.

Wrapping up the program is Monkey Machine, a work that simultaneously takes us back and forward in time. Holland Brooks (writer) is our robotic-alien-like presenter at a conference in the distant future, where humans appear to not be in control. Marli Haddeill and Rhi Bryan act as the presenter’s demonstration models depicting the evolution of humans. As the presenter narrates the timeline of our evolution, Haddeill and Bryan contort and throw their bodies around the space, resulting in lots of audience laughs. However, the laughs don’t hide the piece’s evident sinister tone. The presenter exercises a control over the human models that makes them demonstrate the worst parts of human nature, constantly reminding us that we are just animals. Again, this is another piece that fits well within TILT’s time parameters with a complete story that results in a glory and unexpected ending.

TILT is a conversation generator that highlights the endless ways stories can be told in the form of theatre. It may be cliché to say but with twelve unique performances there is truly something for everyone across TILT’s two programs. The people of Perth should be proud to have such a diverse group of performance makers gearing up to enter the industry.

TILT Program two has just two shows left at The Blueroom Theatre.