Lambert House Enterprises, whose recent acclaimed productions in Sydney have included “The Credeaux Canvas”( 2015-Seymour Centre), “The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me”(Gingers and the Butterfly Club, Melbourne 2014) and “Relative Merits”(King Street Theatre) staged its latest production at the Old 505 Theatre Newtown.
Written by Chris Isaacs, “FLOOD” is a highly praised play that grew from workshops followed by a very successful season at the Black Swan Theatre Company in Perth. This production was its East Coast premiere.
The play follows the story of six young twenty-something friends who embark on an end-of-year, rite of passage holiday in the deserts of Western Australia. Finding a secluded creek they set up camp but encounter an enraged member of the local community, resulting in tragic consequences.
“FLOOD” examines the questions of race, ignorance and the naivety of the young generation and is directed by NIDA graduate, Charles Sanders, who’s worked extensively in New York and with the State Theatre Company of SA and Opera Australia as well as his own theatre company -– House of Sand.
“There are really great plays out there about the indigenous side of the picture but there aren’t really many plays about white people that talk about our relationship to Indigenous culture and our understanding – or lack of understanding, of Indigenous culture and our bias: that’s one of the reasons I was drawn to “Flood” and why we’ve put it on,” Sanders told JAO.
The Old 505 Theatre offered the right opportunity to stage this powerful production covering topical issues. In the upstairs ballroom of Newtown’s 100 year-old School Of Arts, the venue’s intimate space of around 70 seats meant the audience felt closely involved.
Sanders concurs: “Especially in a small house such as this – a piece of theatre is more similar to having a coffee with a friend than it is to a movie; having an actual interaction with someone, it’s really exciting,” he explained. “We spend so much more of our time looking at screens now, I think we yearn to gather.”
The actors agree: “Though small, when it’s filled it feels really alive,” Aaron Lucas, one of the exciting young actors featured in “FLOOD”, told JAO. “You can hear and feel the reaction… especially with the audience that close. You can really have a conversation with them.”
In addition, a clever use of Indigenous artwork and swathes of fabric by NIDA-trained set designer Stephanie Howe succeeded in creating both a versatile landscape and charged atmosphere for storytelling.
Review by Paula Towers