That Was Friday

BelcoArts-That-Was-Friday-photo-by-Lorna-SimThis extraordinary large-scale, multi-disciplinary work grapples with questions of identity, family, nationality and belonging.

Charley Sanders and Eliza Sanders have drawn together cast of accomplished dancers, actors, videographers and designers to produce a work that is at times, puzzling, engaging, confronting, intriguing, moving but ultimately satisfying and thought-provoking.

It is difficult to write about without the risk of spoiling a unique experience for those audiences yet to experience it. Suffice to say, that by interval I found myself puzzling as to what I was supposed to think about what I had been watching, but intrigued as to where it was taking me.

Then, by the disarmingly simple conclusion, when all the threads had been neatly drawn together, charmed, satisfied and keen to muse on the issues the production highlighted so effectively.

Intriguingly labelled as both autobiographical and fictional, That was Friday tells a relatively simple story about family. It’s about a mother’s efforts to keep her family together in a world where travel has never been easier, and communication even easier.

It’s about a son keen to explore what that world has to offer, and a daughter equally set on achieving her full potential, all in different parts of the world. But it is how it is told that makes this production so remarkable

Through striking video captures the audience is privy to the video-link conversations between the mother (Sara Zwangobani) and her efforts to keep the lines of communication open with  her son, Jack (Lachlan Martin) and daughter Eliza (Enya Daly) as they follow their dreams in different parts of the world.

Punctuating these conversations dancers, Billy Keohavong, Jareen Wee, Ella Williams and Ryan Douglas Stone provide an abstract representation of the swirling emotions and events surrounding these conversations; their every move captured on video by a fifth dancer,  Alec Katsourakis.

The video design by Laura Turner and Mario Spate is quite remarkable in the way it creates intimacy between audience and actor, as well as providing additional spectacle, enhanced as it is by Tony Black’s thoughtful lighting design and the understated costume design by Monique Bartosh.

For those willing to extend their perceptions of story-telling, That Was Friday is a “must-See”. For House of Sand and Belco Arts it is a stunning achievement in brave and compelling story-telling, which deserves to be seen by a much larger audience than will have the opportunity during this brief season.

However it also needs to be said, that despite its brilliance, at two and a half hours on opening night, the production would benefit from further tightening and trimming.

That Was Friday
Belconnen Arts Centre, 118 Emu Bank, Belconnen (ACT)
Performance: Wednesday 23 November 2022
Season continues to 26 November 2022
Information and Bookings:

Image: That Was Friday – photo by Lorna Sim

Review: Bill Stephens OAM