"Its object declaration, like so much else, abstract and tangible alike, tonight, is buried... somewhere here."
For all its resplendent splendour — those cavernously pitched ceilings, the IMAX-screen-sized organ in the back wall — Sydney Town Hall has never felt homier. Sure, some space has been reduced with the addition of the cardboard box palisades that contain, among other things, some enigmatically labelled 'strange tube', figurines from test match cricket assembled as paramedics beside a corpse and a toy car ambulance inside a shoe box, and a VHS of 10 Things I Hate About You, but Geoff Sobelle's contributions — as creator/performer, and as host/guide to this mountainous terrain of memory — cannot be understated.
A modernisation of the Taming Of The Shrew, the ten things of the title refer to a poem written by Kat comprising a list of things she hates about Patrick, the enumeration of which amounts to a declaration of love. There is love in The Object Lesson too, but its object declaration, like so much else, abstract and tangible alike, tonight, is buried... somewhere here.
In a former life a clown and a magician, Sobelle moves big and obvious but beautifully between the boxes, an acute satire of surprise shown with his whole body as the cardboard collapses around another lamp or phone, or the letter — nearly torn to shreds by elder statesman, audience member, and impromptu hawker of cheese, Michael — that insists on popping up in the most unexpected places.
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Like the detritus of life boxed up beneath and above us, our company with Sobelle is compartmentalised: one box marked introspection; one 'DANCE'; and one with the word 'life' scrawled impatiently, containing a clown car whose trunk is emptied with a frenetic time-lapsed pace to reveal a melancholic connection between the experience of time in life flashing before our eyes and rush hour.