Review: We May Have To Choose
Katey Bulner | On 22, Sep 2016
You do not speak, you listen. You sit quietly in a dark small room, and in just forty-five minutes you are delivered 621 worldly opinions from one woman, Emma Hall. With this; you are shocked, brought to tears, laughing, and all the while you’re thinking; because some day you may to have to choose.Â
Written in just one night, developed in 8 months andÂ rehearsed in 6, We May Have To Choose is aÂ witty, withering, and moving piece about the fallibility of thought in our quest to solve the riddles of theÂ world.Â Written and performed by Emma Hall, directed by Prue Clark, and produced by Cameron Stewart, this Brisbane Festival play is the definition of â€œsimple; but powerfulâ€.
As we walkÂ into The Block at the QUT Creative Industries Precinct, we are seated into a small room with a plain white backdrop and dim-lighting. There are no sudden light changes, no loud music and no cues are given to signify the show has begun. Instead, out walks Emma Hall with a packet of flash cards as she gives us the rules of the night. She tells us that her roommate calls the show â€˜experimentalâ€™, and that her mumâ€™s friend says itâ€™s the type of show you need two beers for â€“ at that point she picks up two drinks and proceeds to hand the beers out to audience members.
We May Have To Choose can be defined as a monologue of sorts, expressing a one-sided stream of consciousness withÂ a list of declarations regarding our universal existence. On the eve of the apocalypse, and in a dying world; what is it to speak oneâ€™s mind? Each line is an opinion, a slogan, a suggestion, an expression, a guide, or a call for action. The audienceÂ is confronted with a wide variety of topics, including racism, technology, taxes, sex and illness. There areÂ no filters or barriers to the opinions being explored.
“Knowledge is power, power is unequalâ€, â€œSome people need to shut up more. Some people need to stand up moreâ€, were just a few of the hard-hitting lines being delivered. However, despite its thought-provoking and sometimes devilishlyÂ unsettling topics, there was plenty to laugh atâ€¦ dark humour and all.
Emma jumps from real to random, and each turn she takes you are riding the roller coaster with her. With hardly any pauses you are pulled from poverty and homelessness, to the fact that most people canâ€™t sing as well as they think they can, that babies are actually really ugly, and that goldfish should not be in glass prisons. Slowly she begins to move and use her surroundings too: the raise of a hand, a turn or aÂ pose, and the stage propÂ lamp symbolising the moon. The play’s barrage offers no time to find a story or analyse Hall, becauseÂ from the start, to the end, and everything in between; you are consumed.
In this weird space of time, with a complete stranger, you share a mutual relationship of understanding. Because with the power of theatre, her thoughts soon become yours. You share the happiness, the truth, the pain and the fear. Before you know it, you are leaving the theatre room with questions of your own. Does true love exist? Can bankers be trusted? Is there really a God?
And just like that, the genius minds behind We May Have To Choose have succeeded. Itâ€™s made you feel, and most importantly itâ€™s made you think, even hours after watching the show. If there is one thing to remember: itâ€™s that everyone has the same deep, random and messed-up thoughts that you doâ€¦ and itâ€™s with these thoughts we are encouraged to stand up and speak, and ultimately – stand up and choose.
What: We May Have To Choose
When: 20rd â€“ 24th of September
Where: Theatre Republic – QUT Creative Industries, The Block
Cost: Adult $25, Concession $20
More Information: Visit the Brisbane Festival website
Images Credited: Brisbane Festival, Emma HallÂ