The Subiaco Arts Centre: Rose

A one-woman tour de force, Rose, playing at the Subiaco Arts Centre, both celebrates and laments an extraordinary life spanning the twentieth century.
The Subiaco Arts Centre: Rose
The Subiaco Arts Centre: Rose A one-woman tour de force, Rose both celebrates and laments an extraordinary life spanning the twentieth century. World events are filtered to the audience through the eyes of Rose, a Jewish woman with the skill of a great storyteller and a witty, self-deprecating sense of humour. We meet Rose, perched alone on a hard wooden bench in Miami Beach as she sits shivah (Jewish period of mourning) and reflects, trying to make sense of a fascinating life that began in a Russian shtetl (small village) and took her via Warsaw’s ghettos and a doomed ship of fleeing Jews to the boardwalks of Atlantic City, Arizona’s canyons and salsa-flavoured nights in Miami. ”I’m eighty years old. I find that unforgivable and suddenly it’s the millennium and I stink of the past century, but what can I do?” Rose won a Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Play in 2000, and its charm lies in playwright Martin Sherman’s lightness of touch in juxtaposing pain and humour. Sherman is best known for his adaptation of The Boy From Oz for Broadway, and his seminal gay play Bent (1979), which has starred Ian McKellen and Richard Gere. His other works include Clothes in the Wardrobe and Mrs Henderson Presents. In this virtuoso performance by Rosemarie Lenzo, Rose is a Jewish woman’s journey back through time and people she has shared her life with to come to this reflective point. It is told with great clarity and bold storytelling from Lenzo’s diminutive sitting frame and speaks of this Jewish woman’s steely resolve, where we are transported through a rich panoply of people and places and events. Lenzo commands with true incarnation of character leaving resonant space for interpretation to the opening night captivated audience. Gillian Berry, with her directorial debut for Agelink Theatre Inc and the Perth Theatre Company, has delivered a symphonic experience to the stage with the subtle melding of voice, ambient soundscape (Hugh Jennings) and atmospheric lighting (Aaron Stirk). Her previous extensive body of work as a radio director with ABC Radio Drama is well utilised in this rich, funny and heartbreaking portrait of Rose, and also shows a great depth of understanding of Martin Sherman’s theatrical form – the monologue. The Jewish social history, a feisty woman’s marriages and children, the constant questioning of God’s existence are all given a deft hand by Berry and her collaboration with Lenzo in this very engaging night in the theatre. Rose by Martin Sherman Dates:25/03/2009–04/04/2009 Venues: The Subiaco Arts Centre 180 Hamersley Road, Subiaco Tickets: Standard - $35.00 (Receive a ticket to The Big Picture for $15) Concession - $27.50 (Receive a ticket to The Big Picture for $10)

Gillian Clark

Friday 27 March, 2009

About the author

Gill Clark is an arts hub reviewer based in Perth.