Described as the ultimate C20th role for women, this existentialist classic by Samuel Becket starred Australian acting legend Carol Burn in her final role. Directed by Wesley Enoch, we carefully followed the staging required by the Beckett estate, whilst bringing the piece to and Australian context. But - it was all Carol and her incredible performance. Vale to an extraordinary artist, mentor and collaborator.
The theme and the setting may be bleak, but director Wesley Enoch and designer Penny Challen in this QTC production have cleverly changed our point of view. We do not enter into an empty theatre, but into an art gallery, with a background of noisy audience chatter and the huge gold-framed scrim which portrays John Glover’s early 19th century painting of the Australian bush, ‘Launceston and the River Tamar’.
It’s almost the Brechtian technique of alienation, a warning that we must not allow ourselves to become too absorbed in the reality of the portrayal/painting, but look for our own meaning in it. Then the scrim is drawn aside, and we see it no more until the end of the first act and the beginning and end of the second, leaving us between two worlds, as it were.
The Australianness of the painting gives the play a more universal setting, too, just as it’s possible to see the mound in which Winnie is imprisoned as a kind of Uluru, a rough beast that has its own stirrings of life which will eventually drag all of us down into death.
Alison Cotes, dailyreview.com.au