The Masters of Space and Time directed by Stuart Roberts. The Street Theatre StudioApril 2-12, 2003, 8.30pm.
Canberra's tendency to spawn new theatre groups like coral on a full moon has created a metamorphosed Bohemian Productions now called The Masters of Space and Time. This is the title of the second short play in this program. The first is Howard's Game. Both are tightly scripted and directed.
Both plays show how depth of meaning is achieved in theatre by telling a story well rather than by trying too hard to be meaningful. Howard is a sad one-time children's television presenter who told his stories by having Mr Jimmy, a toy monkey, whisper what to say into his ear. We see Howard on screen from the past as well as on stage in the present, now grey haired, having just received a parcel which contains Mr Jimmy. His children's stories developed dark endings and seemed to predict disasters in real life, so he had been dismissed and the TV station had kept Mr Jimmy. We discover that Mr Jimmy's last screen story presaged Howard's own death. Reality is entirely blurred by imagination, leaving us laughing at the absurdity of the situation while aware that we are all vulnerable like Howard.
The style of The Masters of Space and Time is much more clearly absurdist. Jack owns the flat in which Mort and Hampton also live. Jack plans his life in every detail, including the moment when he will propose to Ellyse. Mort and Hampton will have to leave. They play the Consequences Game, in which a single event - throwing a paper aeroplane out the window - causes more and more extensive ripples in reality and finally disasters on a grand scale, following the chaos concept of the flutter of a butterfly's wing.
The consequence is not just that Jack's plans are destroyed and the lodgers remain in his flat, but everything collapses into some kind of earthquake inferno. No-one is the master of space and time, despite our fantastic belief in our central place in the universe.
Production values, in terms of lighting, sound, video, props, costumes and make-up, are high, once again by careful cutting back and avoiding unnecessary extravagance. The result is a night of excellent theatre from a young group whose work is developing fast.
© Frank McKone M.A., F.A.C.E.
Return to Frank McKone'sHome Page