Adelaide, Adelaide Fringe 2014

A Special Day

0 Comments 13 March 2014


This is the only true theatre show I saw this Fringe, and if I only got to see one, boy am I glad it was this! A Special Day is everything that fantastic theatre should be: inventive, captivating and thought-provoking.

From the very start of this performance, you enter into a contract with the actors on stage to “pretend we are Italians…in 1938”. It is surprising that this candidness heightens rather than diminishes the experience of the audience – a magical world appears in front of your eyes, and you are complicit in making it happen. It does help that Ana Graham and Antonio Vega are masters of their craft; breathing life into each of the objects and characters that they conjure, their energy and focus are the beating heart of this show that discusses social, political and emotional issues with equal depth.

The staging of this performance is integral to its success: a desk, two chairs and a smattering of other household furniture are enclosed by three walls that are daubed in chalkboard paint. Carrying a piece of chalk on them at all times, the actors can create a lamp, a phone, a window against the blank walls; furnishing their apartments in the audience’s mind much more vividly than could be achieved with more tangible props. The two main characters live in opposite apartment blocks, but A Special Day eschews traditional boundaries and has both acting in the same space, as if their apartments were superimposed upon each other. It sounds like this would be a stretch for the audience but again, this innovative technique works exceptionally well, thanks to the commitment of the actors.

Not only is this performance wonderfully executed, but it deals with issues that still resonate loudly today: loneliness, social exclusion and the dynamics of power. Although it is set in Fascist Rome, the persecution that faces each of our main characters could very well apply in the present day. A chance encounter brings them together to form a tender, heartfelt relationship over the course of a single day, and through this bond they come to gain insights into themselves and each other. By focusing on the mundanities of life, we are told that life goes on, in spite of the political upheavals that happen around us. After all, is Fascism a “political regime or a state of mind”?

If you only see one theatre show this Fringe, do as I did and make it this one. You won’t be disappointed.

A Special Day, Holden Street Theatres – The Arch, Feb 13 to Mar 16

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This post was written by who has written 18 posts on Buzzcuts.

Annie is a recent graduate of a Bachelor of Arts and Sciences from Adelaide University. She enjoys reading, playing Scrabble and looking at pictures of gorgeously ugly dogs. Currently fulfilling the life-long dream of working in a bookshop, she has aspirations to be an editor.

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