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SUBSTANCE AND STYLE: CAM CUISON REVIEWS TRANSFORMATION BY GEMSKI

Mon 19 Nov 2012

In the beginning there was chaos. . .and from it came this captivating one woman’s journey to the here and now. The journey of self-discovery is such a well trodden theme; knowing this going in I knowingly held a breath. I was simply waiting for the honey drenched life lesson she was ready to pour down my throat. I left the show still waiting.

The play is built on the premise of a woman over coming the difficulties that life has presented to her, yet is this simply a synonym for a cheesy coming of age story that has a neat and tidy conclusion? The simple answer is no. The things that she finds the strength to overcome are unfortunately not the trials and tribulations of a normal adolescent teenager. But while she opens up with a friendly bit of audience interaction she does not beg anything more from us; where the temptations for self-pity and unadulterated narcissism are many, she actively chooses to not play the damsel in distress.

Instead she presents her story in a very physical way. While I am usually attempting to scribble all the most memorable parts of the shows that I review, looking back, my notes are sparse and half hearted. The reason for this is that her movements were simply mesmerising. I could not tear my eyes away from her, even to remind myself how captivating the experience was. Despite the beauty and entrancing choreography, the audience do not doubt that she has lived a very cruel and sad life. But what you come to respect is that the incidents that led her to this moment are simply that: moments. They are not the defining end picture. Even at the end, she invites questions and feedback from the audience, suggesting that this is a piece of theatre a very present existence.

Once you’ve gotten over the brutality of what she has decided to share with you, you begin to understand her purpose. This is not “art for art’s sake”. The horror of her story gives this piece of physical theatre some real punch and is all the better for it.

Transformation by Gemski was performed at Lakeside Theatre on Thursday 8 & Friday 9 November 2012.

Camela Cuison is the Editor of the Book Section of The Rabbit. Visit the Rabbit Books blog.

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