Sometimes I Say Your Name Out Loud is a dark circus meditation on loss, friendship, love and moving forward (described by one of the co-creators/performers as being built out of a shared experience of loss). Together the performers have created a compelling piece; one that uses circus skills and clowning to evoke memories of friendship and to provoke thinking about rituals to move forward after loss.
Vulcana’s new Morningside circus hub is a great venue, transformed for the show into ‘purgatory.’ Don’t worry… it turns out that there is a bar in purgatory, so arrive in time to grab a drink. Enjoy the sounds of water lapping on the shore, and wonder about the centre-stage origami-style ‘boat.’ And then, for the next fifty minutes, be enthralled by the skills and storytelling of the three co-creators and performers—Phoebe Manning (Ronnie), Maddy Grant (Mort, Reggie) & Nadia Jade (Priestess).
Jade’s Priestess (complete with a fabulous headdress) was an intriguing figure—both strong and caring. At the same time, this was a Priestess who was weighed down by the responsibilities to the departed, with an evocation of grief—including the literal walking on glass—that was very moving.
But this is not a show that wallows in sadness; there were many opportunities for laughter. I am certain that everyone will have been impressed by Manning’s wonderful clowning skills. From the first moment of dashing around the room through to the poignant duet with Reggie (Maddy Grant), Manning created a fabulous tragi-comic ‘new kid’ (Ronnie) who was learning to play their part in the rituals of ‘this place,’ under the close direction of Mort.
Grant was compelling in Sometimes I Say Your Name Out Loud: fabulous circus skills, with great demonstrations of strength, balancing, and work on the silks/trapeze (on this occasion, more of a netting/hammock). If I had to single out only a few moments from the show that I particularly enjoyed, most included Grant. The scythe work was fantastic; I am not sure I have ever seen a scythe being balanced, let alone with such skill and apparent ease (and love). The duet with Manning was a marvellous way in which to tell Ronnie’s ‘back story,’ complete with great strength work by Grant. And my highpoint was Mort’s humorous work ‘with attitude’ on the silks/netting, which was both skilful and highly entertaining.
I am sure that every member of the audience will take away different interpretations of Sometimes I Say Your Name Out Loud. I found the ending to be an uplifting ‘sail away’ and release of souls— bringing the themes of the piece together when revealing the music behind the rituals undertaken by the Priestess, Mort and (eventually) Ronnie.
Verdict: Sometimes I say Your Name Out Loud demonstrates that dark circus can is enjoyable and even uplifting. If you have the chance to see it, then try it.
Audience tip: Produced by Moment of Inertia and Collectivist, the world premiere season was held at Vulcana Circus, 420 Lytton Road, Morningside, QLD 4170. 7-9 May 2021 (8pm). 50 minutes. 15+. Tickets $40 ($25 concession).
The reviewer attended the Saturday 8th May 2021 performance.
Picture credit: Creative Futures Photography.