On top of all that, the show is interrogating what it means to actually be an individual, how we are connected to our parents and our children, biologically, emotionally. It’s an explosion of experience. How do you even begin to explain what it’s like to repress every different part of you? To be both mother and child, to others and to yourself? To be in a constant conflict of going and staying, of leaving and being left, of being all your different selves at all the wrong times. I’m listing again. Nor have I really been able to explain how she communicates these things, fuck.
If all this sounds remarkably heady that’s because I'm trying to put it all into words, and the show does it through song, dance, and gesture. It uses props beautifully, a tangle of chords can be both sex and a child, a headpiece can be both a playful expression and a metaphor for a baby's head during birth. It should feel thought out within an inch of its life but it doesn’t. It’s creative, fresh, and exciting. More listing.
The sound design is equally astounding. Mics are placed everywhere in the room, dangling from the ceiling, giving Stockwell a stage's worth of little stages to perform at. Of course these all serve multiple purposes as well and are complimented by strategically placed speakers. The location of these speakers, and the way the sound moves between them is incredibly effective. One particularly mobile speaker is used as a stand-in for a baby and is given to the audience to take care of for a large chunk of the show. I found myself forgetting about it and focusing purely on Stockwell as she’s freed to take the show into new directions by not having to take care of it, only to realise that one of the members of the audience was still burdened with having to hold the baby twenty minutes later. If that’s not effectively communicating a specific emotional experience (which is the point of art), I don’t know what is.
Stockwell is the real deal. She’s had a long and successful career in TV, theatre, and film and you can see why. She’s a captivating presence with unbelievable control. She moves with precision and agility, she projects and sings with weight and gravitas. And maybe it’s because she’s so good, that you feel the weight of her loss so much more. That you get how torturous it would be to not be able to do the things you do, when you can do them this unbelievably well.
I went into this knowing nothing. I agreed to review it because no one else was available. I’m so overwhelmingly glad I got to see this, and I think you should go see this before it goes because theatre of this quality doesn’t come to Wellington, or anywhere, very often. I will end by listing more superlatives because I have so many feeling towards this show which is programmed at 9pm for some reason and I hadn’t heard anyone talking about and I just want to sing it’s praises to the fucking rooftops. Exceptional. Feels like a lifetime's worth of creativity and expression. One of the best shows I’ve ever seen. Just really, really, good.
Get your tickets for the final show from BATS Theatre -https://bats.co.nz/whats-on/weve-got-so-much-to-talk-about/