Book of Exodus – Part II concludes the adaptation Adena Jacobs and Aaron Orzech began earlier this year of the book of Exodus from the Bible. Moses has freed the Israelites from slavery and is leading them as best he can through the desert to their new home, assuming they keep God’s law.
Charlton Heston (The Ten Commandments, 1956) or Christian Slater (The Ten Commandments, 2007) have both famously visited the story (perhaps more infamously with the latter), and it’s one people return to again and again.
Indeed, the word – “exodus” – today carries weight in both its history and symbolism – whether in the most literal case such as the ship, SS Exodus, or more generally with the forced migration of refugees throughout history to the present day. It’s rarely a word used without unsettling connotations.
Here, Adena and Aaron’s cast are all children. The weight of the material is in small-but-many hands. However, it’s a mistake to think that such a youthful troupe makes for a lack of sophistication or risk.
Under a beautiful, rising light that shifts from faint tangerine to a blazing orange, the piece starts on a lull. Bodies are strewn, zipped up resting in sleeping bags. Eventually they stir and reveal themselves, filling the next hour with dance, ritual, defiance, dust, and rest. To be sure, there’s a prodigious amount of ambiguity in the work, but there’s no uncertainty; Everything is deliberate.
Cast and crew have combined to build a remarkable show, audacious in its style, with an unexpected sense of play that makes every beat of the story compelling to watch. You may not leave with a definitive linear narrative, but you’ll want to see what they do next.
Book of Exodus – Part II
Theatre Works, 14 Acland Street, St. Kilda
Performance: Saturday 21 October 2017 – 7.30pm
Season continues to 29 October 2017
Information and Bookings: www.theatreworks.org.au
Image: Jock Hogg and Imoo Bergman Carthew in the Book of Exodus – Part II – photo by Pia Johnson
Review: David Collins