"The latest offering from La Boite's Indie season is the kind of theatre seldom seen in Brisbane and should be savoured."
With a vintage retro sci-fi vibe and an intelligent, compelling dual narrative, the latest offering from La Boite's Indie season is the kind of theatre seldom seen in Brisbane and should be savoured.
The Motion Of Light In Water was created collaboratively by Melbourne-based Elbow Room, headed by Marcel Dorney (on directing duty) and Emily Tomlins, who plays multiple roles including the narrator of the piece, Jewel. The play centres around real-life sci-fi author Samuel R Delany (Ray Chong-Nee), a tireless writer with four published books under his belt by his early 20s in 1960s New York. He married poet prodigy Marilyn Hacker (Olivia Monticciolo) — their union an "experiment" as they both identified as gay.
The complex, layered script weaves the story of these two misfits around the plot of Delany's Nebula Award-winning 1966 novel Babel-17. Rydra Wong (Ngoc Phan) leads a crew into deep space to unravel the mystery of an alien language being used as a weapon. The themes of both cleverly echo one another and it's evident by the complexities of the characters' relationships — a three-way marriage between interstellar navigators, for example — that Delany wrote from experience.
After four performances, it seems the performers were still hitting their stride with some of the more dense lines in the script but the performances are amazing — Chong-Nee in particular plays Delany with real charisma and Tom Dent dazzles with his character work across key scenes in several different roles. This play is everything theatre should be: deep yet playful, insightful and thrilling, a real spectacle. Don't miss it — and prepare your credit card for ordering Delany's entire back catalogue on Amazon afterwards.
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