Before the End is mostly unchanged from an earlier iteration in 2016’s Catalyst Festival. The actors begin in darkness, talking and questioning. Eventually, the lights come up as a sunrise over the cast and the serial numbers on their shirts reveal them as prisoners.
They don’t stop questioning, and over the next little while they attempt to chase down the answers to some philosophical quandaries – moral dilemmas as a kind of cerebral incarceration that’s just as difficult to escape as their literal prison.
Devised and performed well by Mathew Arter, Ciara Baillie, Olivia Fisher, and Aidan Niarros – the piece takes advantage of cameras and screens to produce a high-low mix, resembling an outtake from David Lynch’s film, Inland Empire.
It’s a frantic piece in places, the characters taking turns, near-rabid, in front of a live microphone. However, for all the high-tech sonic trickery, the most compelling sound was the cling film relaxing in the cast’s hands after they tore it apart near the end.
This was a fascinating piece that benefited from the move to a smaller stage. While some of the storytelling became obscure in moments, the cast always showed great physical commitment and presence.
Before the End
Emerald City – Meat Market, 3 Blackwood Street, North Melbourne
Performance: Sunday 17 September 2017 – 8.00pm
Image: Before the End (supplied)
Review: David Collins