Nicki Bloom looks to Land and Sea
Brink Productions is about to present the world premiere of Nicki Bloom’s intimate and immersive play, Land & Sea.
Nicki is a young playwright of national renown having recently completed commissions for several of Australia’s major theatre companies, including Sydney Theatre Company, Belvoir, and Griffin Theatre Company. Her debut play Tender was first produced by nowyesnow in 2007 as part of the B-Sharp downstairs season at Company B Belvoir Street in Sydney, which has since been produced with Hothouse Theatre and Griffin Theatre as well as the Summer Play Festival in New York.
There is no doubt that Nicki’s work is in demand and she is considered a contemporary writer of note (as her many awards demonstrate, including the 2009 Patrick White Playwright’s Award and the 2012 Jill Blewett Playwright’s Award among many others).
Land & Sea came about through a formal commission by Brink in 2010 and the collaboration with Artistic Director, Chris Drummond has developed a piece that is particularly different to anything Nicki has written before.
“It deals with some core ideas that I often explore in my work – namely ideas about time, memory and language, along with a concern with form and structure”, says Nicki. “Through the piece we move through many temporal, narrative and character planes yet we do end up in a similar place to where we took off”.
This idea of temporal, narrative and character shifts is coined as “strange loops” providing a structure like a babushka doll, set in the round and plays with the notions of identity, time, memory, abandonment, regret and the resilience of love.
Nicki Bloom’s writing is brilliant, sharp and economical. Strongly character driven and surreal, it is a rich and intoxicating combination of lyricism, brutality and absurdist anarchy. But underneath it all is a clear and compelling vision.
Chris Drummond, Brink Artistic Director
Nicki has been very involved in the development of the piece through workshops and rehearsals. “I think it is absolutely vital for the writer to be present and engaged in a rehearsal process… working with so many other minds to create something real is a nice counterpoint to the usual solitary work of a writer”.
Brink Productions is renowned for creating original theatre through long-term collaboration and is essentially an incubator for pieces like Land & Sea (its international success of Andrew Bovell’s When the Rain Stops Falling as well as previous productions Harbinger and Skip Miller’s Hit Songs are of particular note).
Land & Sea employs multiple performance languages including text, choreography, sprechsang (operatic recitative with a rapid and loose articulation, like speech), song and installation design. Remaining faithful to the work, Nicki emphasises, “this particular piece has had a specific musical world to it since inception, so to make the piece live as what it is, rather than as an approximation of what it is, the musical world is fully integrated into the play itself”.
Directed by Chris Drummond with designs by Wendy Todd, music direction by Hilary Kleinig (Zephyr Quartet) and lighting by Geoff Cobham. The cast comprises Danielle Catanzariti, Thomas Conroy, Jacqy Phillips and Rory Walker.
Land & Sea will be performed at the Queen’s Theatre in Adelaide from 12 – 26 May.