Review by Vivienne Glance
THE LIST by Jennifer Tremblay
GUILD STUDIO, EAST PERTH
seen on 27th January 2015
Presented by Fragmented Artists
The newly decked out Guild Studio, with it’s small, funky bar, hosts ‘The List’ written by French-Canadian playwright, Jennifer Tremblay. Performed by Gemma Cavoli, this tight script is at times funny, insightful and painful as it reveals the inner world of a woman trapped in the isolation of a small village and motherhood.
The newly decked out Guild Studio, with it’s funky bar, opens its 2015 Fringe World with ‘The List’ written by French-Canadian playwright, Jennifer Tremblay. A simple but imaginative set of net curtains across the stage, behind which are four windows, creates the hidden interior space the unnamed narrator exists within. The isolation of this woman, at home all day with young children, unable to connect to neighbours in the small village she and her husband now live, is well supported by this flimsy symbol of privacy.
‘The List’ is a poetic monologue that slowly unravels the story of a friendship emerging from this isolation between the narrator and another mother, Caroline. They are polar opposites. Caroline is artistic and messy; her children draw pictures on the wall and leave sticky marks on the table. The narrator wipes her own children’s faces, tidies up the toys each night and orders her life by constantly making lists.
These lists are the crutch that hold her up against her inability to cope; they are her ritual to get though the day. But ultimately, they stop her from truly reaching out and connecting with Caroline.
The central tragedy of the story is about inaction, covered up, like the windows, by futile actions. It reveals that if only we could figure out the important things we need to do from the trivial ones, then we might create friendship, connection and meaning in our lives.
There were times, when the narrator, played by Gemma Cavoli, could reveal more beneath the cracks in her composure as she tries to hold onto order in her life, but on the whole this powerful script is well performed. Suzanne Ingelbrecht’s direction does not impose on the text, but allows it space to reveal its complexity, if at times at the expense of pace.
This is a fascinating insight into a woman’s inner world that reveals much, and is certainly worth seeing.