You’d guess that us guys down at Fringebiscuit eat a lot of biscuits, and you’d be right, but as a rule we don’t gorge ourselves on ones lined with marijuana. Stay in school, kids. You can imagine my surprise then when I found myself tripping at the performance of Maria, 1968. Little did I know, it was actually all part of the performance, the flying sofa having nothing to do with the copious amounts of chocolate digestives I had consumed. The furniture flies about the stage with a grace you would expect of Swan Lake, rather than a piece of theatre.
Maria, 1968 tells the story of Noah, a young writer who is suffering from writer’s block and has just been dumped by his girlfriend. Being dumped, however, kickstarts Noah’s writing and he soon finds himself creating a world revolving around three Englishmen in Greece, one of whom is being forced into marrying Maria, a Greek villager who isn’t all there (in a lovable way). The way in which Noah’s imagination and the real-world blend and merge is an excellent quality; the play seamlessly transports the audience from scene to scene, from imagination to reality and back again. To emphasise this seamlessness, Noah can be seen sat to one side of the imagination scenes at his typewriter (typewriters are cool), watching the entire scene unfold within his imagination as if he were a part of the audience.
Here would be a good time to bring the furniture back up. It was fantastic. Almost in homage to Trainspotting or even That 70’s Show, when Noah and Ed, Noah’s best friend, are finished smoking pot the other performers come out into the shadows and whisk the sofa around the stage, with neither Noah nor Ed appearing aware of this. With elegance the sofa is brought to the front of the stage, face-to-face with the audience for a second before being pulled away and spun around and off-stage, flinging Noah from it and back to his typewriter.
And while the staging and scene-changes dominate your train of thought upon leaving the theatre, the script cannot be ignored. Engaging and even poetic at times, the writing, coupled with the performance of the actors, truly takes hold. Nasi Voutsas, writer of Maria, 1968 and performing the lead role of Noah, has done a wonderful job of creating a warm script, and the company as a whole stage a whimsical performance. This is a must-watch show by a talented young group.
Maria, 1968, C Venues. 1-27 Aug (not 14), 4.05pm.