La Voix Humaine

La Voix Humaine
By Jean Cocteau. La Boite Indie & Motherboard Productions. Roundhouse Theatre, Brisbane. 27 June – 14 July, 2012.

This play is a challenge that will appeal to theatregoers who prefer ‘intellectually stimulating theatre’ to ‘a show where you relax and be entertained.’

Cocteau’s 1930s original was concerned with the telephone, a new invention, which presented a convenient barrier between people in seriously personal situations who normally would have to cope in face-to-face and eye-to-eye resolutions. Eighty years later we have a whole raft of new technologies to help us twist out of such awkward relationships.

That, I think, is what director, Dave Sleswick is exploring. His and Cocteau’s treatment were aimed at the universal relationship breakdown. He and his team overlay multiple sound possibilities, back projections, audio-visual techniques and even one performer who speaks a totally foreign language to explore that original concept!

I congratulate the technical creatives who contribute so much cerebral power to this show. They not only point up the latest modern aspects of the problem, but also support the three actresses in their roles.

Those three, Erica Field, Noa Rotem and Liesel Zink live the turbulent hour on the phone for the last phone call between a woman and her former lover. All gave committed and passionate performances, which flashed across generations.

Equal kudos to all offstage supporters: this was a credit to everyone who contributed to achieving the initial concept.

It was a new and exciting version of the original.

Jay McKee

Images: (top) Erica Field (back) and Liesel Zink (front) & (lower) Liesel Zink. Photographer:  FenLan Chuang

 

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