Come to play, come to win or don’t come at all
I don’t know when I first saw it / In a memory, a premonition, or a dream.
It was a house and it was on fire / I was the house and I was on fire.
A suburban netball team. A new player. Cass says she wants to fit in but if she won’t play by their rules why does she bother coming at all? She claims to see something they cannot, a warning of sorts. All the other women want to do is play. But this player will push each of them to a point of furious revelation. Nothing will be left on the court once these women are done with their reckoning.
A sweaty play about the petty and the profound, the mundane and the mythic, Contest asks how we might be with each other if we don’t have to win.
Contest is presented in association with New Working Group and Bureau of Works
Written by Emilie Collyer
Directed by Prue Clark
Movement Direction: Nat Cursio and Alice Dixon
Set and Costume Design: Romanie Harper
Lighting Design: Amelia Lever-Davidson
Sound Design: Emah Fox
Script Dramaturg: Mark Pritchard
Producer: Erin Milne (Bureau of Works)
Cast: Alice Ansara, Natasha Herbert, Kate Hood, Sonya Suares and Emily Tomlins
Production and Stage Manager: Adelaide Harney
Assistant Stage Manager: Harriet Wallace-Mead
“The court, designed by Romanie Harper and lit by Amelia Lever-Davidson, speaks throughout. Lights shift around it, locker doors open and close of their own accord or shoot sparks as the banal realities before the game slip into a different reality.”
“The walls between the play and the world are indistinct here: the real world hovers around the productions edges, not so much Brechtian signs as Jungian traces, as the light spills from the stage into the shadowlands between…The women themselves disappear as they play. As the court transforms into a battle ground they become their own archetypes, warriors and gods. In the final image – the women walking, crowned with leaves and gold, into the golden light – they might be the sons of Ulster marching towards the Somme.”
“…lit wonderfully by Amelia Lever Davidson”
“An unsettling tragicomic vision from a talented local playwright, brought to life with buckets of grunt and style.”
“Collyer’s writing arcs from brutally unromantic to gruffly poetic with some exquisitely confessional exchanges along the way. Jousting dialogue unravels into contemplative soliloquies … the design sharply — and magically — counterpoints the narrative reality … production elements resolve and coalesce into something remarkable, even ecstatic.”
“Without giving too much away, the use of props, lighting and effects is amazing.”