Transmission by Tanya Marquardt

Dates and Venue 13 - 28 February 2009 @ 8pm | Box Studios, 1622 Franklin Street

Performers David Bloom and Deanna Peters Director Tanya Marquardt and Heidi Taylor Sound Design Emma Hendrix Production Manager heather Lindsay Costume Design Drew Facey Stage Manager Jeremy Waller

Reviewer John Jane

“People disappear every day” – that is the recurring theme of Tanya Marquardt’s Transmission. The dictum is actually printed on the front of the show’s free programme, implied as a subtitle. Of course, people do disappear all the time for all kinds of reasons. Some return home after several months or even years and wonder what all the fuss was about.

But when an immediate family member goes missing and the lines of usual communication are suddenly severed, the pain caused by the emotional void is incurable.

Marquardt’s festival length pièce de théâatre is equal parts live theatre, dance and feign radio broadcast and features stellar performances by David Bloom and Deanna Peters as long-sundered siblings. The admitted influence of the Greek tragedy of Elektra and Orestes is subliminal; though, the artistic resemblance to the docu-drama My Name is Rachel Corrie is less obscure.

Marquardt’s masterly skill in rendering angular and jagged edged language is evident here; nonetheless, she does manage to find humour in some dark places. An example is Bloom’s (un-named) character’s incidence of “misheard lyrics” of the Tammy Wynette’s “Stand by your man” – as Stand by, Earthman!

David Bloom is a late-night talk radio host who on one particular evening decides to use his broadcast to share with his audience experiences of the relationship with his missing sister and what he believes likely happened to her. Bloom’s simultaneous obfuscation, despair and insufficiency conveyed through the sonorous tones of his on-air voice allows for a clear connection with the audience, or more exactly, the audience’s connection with him.

Deanna Peters is the sister who articulates through her own free form dance lexicon her brother’s haunted memories with physical clarity and tempo. Ms Peters uses every square inch of, not just of the tiny stage area, but of the entire studio. Together they demonstrate a potent mix of talent, personality, and audience rapport.

The set doesn’t go much beyond hastily white-washed walls and a grey-painted concrete floor; save for a collection of varied vintage clock radios hanging from overhead sprinkler pipework.

There is an inconspicuous warning in the studio lobby that is intended to prepare audience members to “Loud Noises” during the performance. However, I still found the Anne Murray recording of “Could I have this dance” cranked up to maximum volume harrowing.

Transmission i s a co-creation of Tanya Marquardt, David Bloom, Deanna Peters, Ilena Lee Cramer, Emma Hendrix, Ahmed Khalil, Heather Lindsay, Deanna Peters, Heidi Taylor, Andrew Templeton and Jeremy Waller. This work has the potential for a fully developed production and is certainly deserved of a larger venue.

© 2009 John Jane