Red Stitch Actors Theatre (Vic.). July 21 – August 21.

This is polished theatre at its best – and the best part is its Australian.
Author Melissa Bubnic joined Red Stitch Actors Theatre as Writer in Residence in 2009 and has been developing Stop.Rewind over the past 18 months as part of the theatre’s Writers Program.
Set in a local council office, Stop.Rewind juxtaposes the despair of a group of colleagues, staring at their own hopeless futures, with sharp, rapid-fire humour. The basic, well-utilized set was surrounded by Post-it® note-covered walls that allowed for scene changes to be projected onto the pastel overlay.
The title of the play highlights the character’s dreams that they could stop their lives, rewind, and start again. Some have even tried ending their own lives. The emotion framing the entire piece is a kind of happy sadness – sad about their situations but happy to have their support base at work.
Bubnic’s natural, vernacular writing made for believable and accessible characters. Many of the lines were narrated by the entire ensemble who swapped in and out of sentences and thoughts in strict military order. This is obviously a comfortable, tight-knit ensemble.
A powerful tool frequently utilized by Bubnic is the character’s meta-theatric ability to stop the drama and say: “If [character name] was really being honest, [he/she] would have actually said…” The characters that are honest with their colleagues - Dim (Tim Potter), Trevor (Giordano Gangi), and Heather (Andrea Swifte) – are able to dodge their current fates and see hope on the horizon.
Ian Nisbet

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