Imagine if the world had all but come to an end and you were the last person left on Earth. Global warming has sparked a hellfire and only you survived – at least until now. Your demise is but days away.
You are 33 years of age. Tortured images grip what little sleep you get. You continue to produce live social media content under the moniker Clap Chasey, imploring people to like and subscribe … you and your inanimate friends (dolls, all). Your bestie is the high pitched, gregarious Influenza (Fluey). Sally Roundtree is the voice of reason, only so much of which you can take.
Traditional girl, who wears a crow (known as crowie) as a crown, is your spirit guide. Torso is … well, just a torso and doesn’t say much. Then there is book … who is a book baring the image of an adorable dog. Making a special appearance is Fluey’s husband, Satan … and his spawn. In fact, it is the former than finds you a stud muffin – a younger boyfriend on Tinder, although friends can be fickle.
While you try to stay “up”, it isn’t easy, even with a confession booth and meditation. Your mental health is frequently challenged. You live in a makeshift home, having built the place using found objects. The walls are constructed from cardboard boxes. There is no toilet, so you pee into a bottle and you recycle the contents (your pee doubles as a mouth wash).
Solace comes by way of an old style pay phone that you imagine rings. You show us how to trap, prepare and eat roaches. There is also some tinned food from yesteryear. You have built a shrine to honour those that came before. You never knew your dad, but you miss your mum … who you had to eat.
You can’t shake a feeling of dread and yet you decide to stage a party to end all parties, giving a speech to end all speeches. Even that doesn’t go well … and now you are prepared to join those that are no longer.
Carly Sheppard assumes the role of Chase … and friends. She attracts and repels, she draws you in to her isolated world, which has gone to hell in a hand basket. She is extraordinary – her characterisations funny and pathetic in equal measure. She has developed and performed the character of Chase for nearly a decade. The latter is a macro metaphor of our colonial shame – a mirror back to Australia.
Chase is a powerful and poignant independent work – a walk on the wild side. The busy and strangely compelling set design is by smallsound. Sound and composition design is by him and Richie Brownlee, lighting by Katie Sfetkidis and videography by Devika Bilimoria. Alex Mansell was responsible for the video editing. The visual imagery is striking and disturbing. Fire rages.
Directed by Kamarra Bell-Wykes, Chase – at 75 minutes – presents as a theatrical apocalypse that will stay with you long after you exit the theatre. It is playing at The Beckett, at Malthouse Theatre, until 3rd December, 2023.
* Formed last year, A Daylight Connection is a coming together of innovative and visionary theatre-makers, reimagining what First Nations theatre can be. It is intent on taking its unique brand of post-traumatic adventure theatre far and wide.