A post-apocalyptic setting, absurdist influences and visually stunning design combine to make a transfixing performance.
In Dropped, two nameless characters take centre-stage. Trapped in a war zone, eventually, it is revealed that they are two female soldiers left behind – passing the time and waiting to be found. Waiting for a sign. The stories they tell are blurred memories; it’s difficult to discern what is true and what is false, but within that lies the dark comedy. An all-female production team drives this performance and the result is a show that makes the Theatre of the Absurd accessible to a general audience.
Playwright Katy Warner has previously captivated audiences with her 2010 Melbourne Fringe play, these are the isolate; Katy received the Victorian Writers’ Centre Award for Best Emerging Playwright for the piece, and the play was awarded the Theatre Works 2010 Melbourne Fringe Award for Best Original Australian Work. Her creation of Dropped is another success; she pulls elements from Waiting for Godot’s conventions of absurdism – repetitive dialogue, a focus on existentialism, abstract movement and minimal set design – then blends in contemporary language and humour to create a lighter work. With references to cult media within contemporary society and constant confusion and enthusiasm displayed by the characters, there are quite a few laughs to be had.
Actors Olivia Monticciolo and Matilda Reed show masterful control over the pace and tone of Warner’s dialogue and bring their characters to life with high energy and perfect comic timing. Lucy Thornett’s set and costume design is minimal, but adds an incredible depth to the performance. Newspaper shavings cover the floor of the performance space, suggesting ash, snowflakes and debris (or a combination of all three) and costume choices are accurately reflective of the characters’ personas and used to assist shifts in mood and setting. Lighting design by Amelia Lever-Davidson and sound design by Kahra Scott-James effectively applies a sense of realism to an otherworldly performance.
Dropped provides a theatre experience that is not to be missed at this year’s Melbourne Fringe Festival; creating satisfying entertainment for theatre-goers who are up for the unusual and thought provoking.
Rating: 4 ½ out of 5 stars
Written by Katy Warner
Performed by Olivia Monticciolo and Matilda Reed
Production design by Kahra Scott-James (sound), Lucy Thornett (set & costume) and Amelia Lever-Davidson (lighting)
Directed by Prue Clark
Meeting Room, North Melbourne Town Hall
28–29 September and 1–5 October
Melbourne Fringe Festival
18 September – 6 October