A disused office space with a plastic tropical garden at one end and scaffolding supporting a spinning propeller at the front set the scene for Dig Collective’s Double Speak at Frankston’s Anywhere Festival on Sunday, September 6.
Best characterized as experimental theatre, it is also experiential because it engages all the senses, particularly for the sight impaired man who was given the opportunity to touch all parts of the set ahead of the show and was given his own personal audio device live streaming the performance. This is a DIG collective innovation.
Audience members were offered a glass of red and ushered to their seats while in they background they could hear an atmospheric looping audio track of sound bites from aircraft traffic, debates in Australian Parliament, snippets from Q & A and responses called to DoubleSpeak audiences to answer the question: When did you most feel Australia was an island?
Performers, Michael Fee and Dana McMillian then embarked on a series of scenes using physical theatre and highly energized dialogue to engage the audience in a journey of words and ideas toughing on social and political issues. They frequently spoke the same dialogue, but just slightly out of sync or performed the same dialogue, but when articulated by the other took on new nuances.
With lighting design reflecting that spinning propeller against a wall, the hypnotic revolution of the propeller itself, the slightly Orwellian soundtrack and dialogue and two performers one could not take one’s eyes off of, this was a mesmerizing night at the theatre even if they had been speaking another language. This was thought provoking, funny and insightful theatre.
ANDREA LOUISE THOMAS
ARTS EDITOR, MINT MAGAZINE