By Ben Johanson
With eight monologues, eight different accents, and four actors, Collingwood Woodplayers’ Eight presents an intriguing and engaging production that is well worth the watch. This recorded production contains eight different stories excellently conveyed by the four actors who each play two characters. Dylan Hicks begins the performance and plays Danny, a scarred veteran, and Jude, a naïve teenager. Amie Page’s haunting Mona is significantly distinct to her straight-talking and humorous Bobby, while Alexander Bittar’s flamboyant and expressive Andre differs greatly from his egotistical, but ultimately superficial portrayal of Miles. Maddie Clark concludes the play with the traditionalist Millie and the self-deprecating and vulnerable Astrid. Their range is particularly impressive and is something for which all the actors must be commended. Despite the occasional lost line, their performances are excellent and expressive, drawing the audience into the experiences of their distinct parts. They also have some fantastic accents, making it almost impossible to tell which their real voices are.
The director, Lowri Mathias, and their assistant Lillie Rodger, fantastically maintain dynamism in the production, despite a minimalist set, consisting of a bed and some chairs. They achieve this through various silent interactions between cast members onstage who are not involved in the monologue and through varied movement around the set to convey the stories being described in a way besides simply speech. The choice of costumes for each character aids the characters in variating their performances and is invaluable to the audience. Likewise, the recording provides different angles throughout the monologues to create an intimate look into the characters and their movements.
This is thanks to video editor Molly Taylor and their assistant Jasmine Wong. The only issue with this is occasional shaky cameras for certain angles and shifts in audio quality between cameras, yet this is unimportant, as it rarely inhibits attention upon the performances. Tech Director, Kevin Roice, provides the haunting purple shades of light which accompany the monologues and provide a sense of closeness. Furthermore, subtle lighting shifts aid in the telling of the many stories presented in the play.
The play is focussed upon different young people and the struggles of their lives. The writer Ella Hickson described her inspiration for the play being through the apathy experienced by many of those of the younger generation of her time. This is a feeling that has persisted and encapsulates the new younger generation, and Collingwood Woodplayers effectively translates these feelings and struggles onto the stage through strong performances, great editing, and eerie lighting. I would encourage any readers to check out this production, even if you watch it one monologue at a time.
Image Credit: Collingwood Woodplayers