Hamed, fleeing his war-torn county, encounters one difficulty after another when a malevolent Angel of Death is determined to undermine his escape. The action of The Sound of Waiting is a clash of wills that is for the most part mesmerizing, with playwright Mary Anne Butler’s work infused with poetic prose.
The story is told jointly by an Angel of Death, and Hamed. The Angel is a curious figure and not at all invincible as it turns out. This Angel speaks at the outset of the space between sea and sky as an elusive and mystical place, only open to a lucky few. Hamed is hoping to enter that space – any space really, away from the chaos of the country that he fled. His journey is an arduous one and fraught with peril, his escape from a bomb blast was one of sheer serendipity as he bent to tie his daughter’s shoelace, his wife and son were not so lucky.
Sheer gossamer-like curtains encircle the foreground of the stage and are pulled back at last as Hamed lands in Indonesia. It is a defining moment, revealing but transitory, as Indonesia is a gateway to places like Australia and New Zealand, then the action drives on.
The writing, while engaging, strays into cliché a few times, but overall is moving. Acting by Reza Momenzada and Gabrielle Scawthorn convincingly teases out the complexities of the story, though we are firmly in Momenzada’s corner as Hamed. Director Suzanne Pereira has effectively drawn the provocative story without censure of either viewpoint and allows the audience to form their own conclusion.
The ongoing projection throughout by Samuel James was simply stunning and also equally evocative as the beautiful sound by Tegan Nicholls. The shimmer on the late night seascape increased the sense of desolation and reminded me of the phrase ‘Water from the moon’, which is coincidentally an Indonesian phrase that means ‘that which is unattainable’. Perhaps also a prophecy for Hamed? Will the new home that he is seeking be possible?
For that you must see for yourself, The Sound of Waiting is on at the Eternity Theatre Darlinghurst until 22 April, for more information and tickets see: http://www.darlinghursttheatre.com/whats-on/the-sound-of-waiting
Featuring: Reza Mmonezada and Gabrielle Scawthorn.
Creative/Tech Team: Mary Anne Butler (writer), Suzanne Pereira (director), Samuel James (video artist & screen design), Tegan Nicholss (composer and soud design), Christopher Page (lighting design), Gayda de Mesa (stage manager), Natasha Hughes (wardrobe supervisor), Thomas Pidd (set construction) and Richard Whitehouse (technician).
above image by Phil Erbacher