Sinking delicately into the depths of remembrance

By Margaret Wieringa

Smoke drifts across the stage in layers, twisting and turning with the gentlest movement. The air is filled with the sounds of summer, of insects and birds and the past. Slowly, so slowly, a figure in red is revealed off in the distance corner of the stage, obscured by the smoke and several long, semi-opaque banners that hang from the ceiling to the floor. And the remembering begins.


You know what it is like, when you recall your childhood. You remember a story, but cannot be sure if the facts are right, or if you are blending two stories, or if any of it actually happened. But you can remember the full names of your primary school classmates and what they were known for. Sometimes it comes in a rush, sometimes in dribs and drabs. Sometimes, bits layer on top of each other like a dream, or a memory of a dream.

Kate Hunter has captured those feelings in this performance of Memorandum. Being in her company in the space at Theatreworks was like being invited into her memory; or a version of someone’s memory. It was a beautiful and surreal experience that was at once mine and not mine.

Kate’s performance is both mesmerising and hypnotising, at times funny and at times heartbreaking, and it is complemented so perfectly by the use of light and set to create a world that is vague and dreamlike and enthralling. Lighting designer and lighting operators Richard Vabre and Suze Smith build with light from traditional theatre sources as well as using projections and offstage lighting to create the vague, magical mood. Having two separate projections of similar images projected on a angle upwards through the three banners gave a layering effect of images, both clear and sharp, and fuzzy and distorted, and with Kate standing in front of them seemed to place her within the memory, within her dream, within her mind.

Then there was the sound, operated by Michael Havir; layers of voice that synch and clash with what Kate herself is saying, adding detail, removing meaning. Revealing, slowly and gently. Even the freezing cold of the theatre was bearable as we were absorbed into the world of memory.

Venue: Theatreworks, 14 Acland Street, St Kilda
Dates: May 20 – June 1, Tuesday-Saturday 8pm, Sunday 5pm
Price: $25 Full, $20 Concession $20, Groups of 8+ $20