A single word with a singularly elastic meaning, ‘still’ can signify the hush of a starless night, the inertia of an object. In London-born, Sydney-based Jane Bodie’s Green Room Award Winning play, Still points to the complexity of human relationships through a series of eight monologues. Although unconnected, director Lara Kerestes tells us the through-line is: “The idea of wanting, of wanting a connection with someone, yearning for something just out of reach. The simple need to connect with another person.”
It’s a common theme for Bodie – now Head of Playwriting at NIDA – who in 2003 claimed she was a ‘hopeless romantic’ despite her often prickly subject matter. In Ride (which was optioned for Hollywood), a couple wake up in bed together with no idea how they got there, while the most recent This Year’s Ashes, party girl Ellen has a better relationship with the tabletop at Stonewall than any living, breathing loved one.
This production, the first for Mad March Hare Theatre in 2012, rallies together a whopping five directors – Kerestes, along with Fiona Hallenan-Barker, Cathy Hunt, Scarlet McGlynn and Jessica Tuckwell.
Kerestes says of the challenge, “All five directors (all female by the way) along with the producer decided that we would work as a collective … Everything has been quite transparent which has allowed us to work individually yet still within a creative framework. The transitions between the pieces are where we have tried to create an over-arching line.”
The show will be held for five nights only, at the indie-flavoured Old 505 Theatre behind Central Station. Says Kerestes of the choice: “Old 505 is an intimate venue which is ideal for this play which is a collection of monologues. It’s a great creative space within an urban environment which again is in keeping with the plays. For me personally, the space is a vital element to the overall vision and it does influence the way in which I bring the story to life.”
It’s a perfect fit for a director and theatre company driving forward the independent theatre scene of Sydney.
“The most important thing to me is this want to push boundaries, to force audiences to sit up and take note, to evaluate their thoughts and position within the world’s hierarchy.” A mission that is still important.
Mar 20-25, Old 505 Theatre, 342 Elizabeth St, Surry Hills, $15-22, moshtix.com.au