Grief, loss, joy, and life in the North Queensland town of Ayr are explored through a montage of memories both real and imagined.

Aurelian is an impressive contemporary theatre production that provides insights into the human condition. Written and directed by Genevieve Trace, the work portrays grief, loss, joy, and life in the North Queensland town of Ayr, explored through a montage of memories both real and imagined, and delivered through a young woman’s monologue.

Erica Field’s strong performance made the storytelling poignant, impacting in various ways the truths of the stories reflecting the real and imagined tales. She enlightened the audience through comedic repertoire and generated some genuine laughter and pleasure. Field also created intense psychological emotion through serious insights and sequences both powerful and delightful - a respectful salute to the craft of acting.  At times the personal, internal struggle and mishmash of stories presented seemed scattered and was difficult to put together as an audience member. However, the final ‘confession’ delivered an eloquent anchor to the writer’s perspective of the concept, giving an edge that unified and satisfied the senses completely.

The set design was reasonably simple, but clever, providing a main backdrop along with lighting and filmic mixtures which supported and integrated the work. I particularly liked the reflective nature of the industrial glass windows that leaned forward to enhance the actor’s soliloquy. Angled live footage of the actor screened onto the surface of the glass and was most effective. This brought an almost metaphysical aspect to the visual presentation, enhancing the notion of the production’s layers of meaning and awareness.

The sound design highlighted the recorded stories of the Ayr community, the writer/director’s home town. These gathered memories of lost loved ones brought to light the reality of the processes people go through in such circumstances; as a theatrical device, they were effective, thought-provoking and insightful. Moments of anguish and turmoil produced through the combination of sound, performance and film encapsulated the otherwise silent pain that the grieving process can bring. At times this was almost too intense to bear – great theatre in my book.

Early in the work the character’s voice seemed thin; fortunately this passed quickly as the piece developed. In the middle section, and later in the show, the technical maturity of sound, vision and acting provided some really breathtaking moments, notable and concise in its execution.

Immersive and engaging, Aurelian is a small production that holds integrity at its core. Well worth a look.

The Sue Benner Theatre at Metro Arts is an intimate studio type theatre space and is a perfect location for such a production. With a café/bar outside and CBD atmosphere, this unpretentious venue is one of Brisbane’s treasures.

Rating: 4 stars out of 5



Writer/Director: Genevieve Trace

Sound Designer: Mike Willmett

AV Designer: Robert Millett

Technical Consultant, AV Mentor and Co-Designer: Freddy Komp

Lighting Designer: Whitney Eglington

Stage Manager: Katie Farr

Performer: Erica Field


Sue Benner Theatre, Metro Arts, Brisbane

7 – 15 September


Brisbane Festival 2013

7 – 28 September


Sally Peters

Wednesday 11 September, 2013

About the author

Sally Peters is a freelance writer currently residing in Brisbane.