REVIEW: Home Open: The Renovation (An Evening of Spring) | The Cutting Room Floor

I recently checked back in with The Cutting Room Floor’s quarterly performance event, Home Open, to see what they’ve been up to, to see if anything had changed, and to have a peek at Tyler Jacob Jones’s latest short piece. Home Open #7 took place over Halloween weekend at MosArts in Mosman Park, and was curated by Verity Softly, one of TCRF’s crew of DIY creatives. MosArts was an ideal venue for what TCRF does with Home Open, and they did a brilliant job of keeping the crowd moving around six different spaces to see six short pieces through the course of the night. 

Inside the main theatre was a piece called Blue Orpheus, written/directed/filmed/performed by Alex Brittan. Brittan performed songs in front of a film he made about the myth of Orpheus. It was a dreamy, meditative piece, and Brittan’s dulcet, melancholic music and vocals bounced gently around the vaulted, wood-floored room. I think we were all a bit mesmerised by Brittan’s performance and would have enjoyed a longer set, although too much longer sitting on the hardwood floor might have put a few joints out of whack.

Outside the venue’s stage door was a short play written by Tyler Jacob Jones and directed by Scott Corbett called Jacinta’s BallThis was the evening’s highlight, and is yet another razor-sharp offering from the pen of Jones; it’s full of jabs at social norms, narcissistic internet culture and the lies people tell themselves to maintain status quo. The play, featuring Renato Fabretti, Verity Softly and Geordie Crawley, told the story of a couple doing their 47th take in an iPhone video destined for their YouTube channel, starring themselves and their baby Xoe. The action takes place in and around a working car, which presented some slight sound tech issues, but not enough to ruin either novelty and effectiveness of the gimmick, or the comedy that eventually turns dark.

In the upstairs hall was another short film work called Vintage Hot Air Balloon, which was a stop-motion feature written by Michael Collins, designed by Katie Williams and voiced over by Charles Wu. The film was visually pleasing, but the story was not particularly engaging, and would have benefitted from a less verbatim reading and perhaps even live narration by an actor off to the side. The second portion of the piece was audio only, and so I risked getting too comfortable in my bean bag chair as I shut my eyes and tried somewhat unsuccessfully to concentrate on the words.

Upstairs in an empty office was a short play called Pix written by Jordan Nix (is that rhyme serendipitous or deliberate?), directed by Verity Softly, starring Sven Ironside and Claire Thomas, who both recently appeared in WAYTCo’s Punk Rock. This was another work that featured mobile phones, this time delving into a confrontation between a brother and sister; the sister accidentally sends her brother a text of her engaging in some kind of compromising sexual activity, and they proceed to debate about privacy of images sent through mobile networks and the internet. One presumes this was sparked by the recent celebrity nude photo hacking scandal, but even if not, it’s certainly a topic to be concerned about.

Outside in the chilly spring air was a spoken word poetic monologue devised by Zoe Hollyoak and Rian Howlett, performed by Rian Howlett, called Nursery Rhymes. Howlett begins by changing out of one set of clothing into some denim overalls and then proceeds to move amongst an assortment of potted plants, drawing parallels between caring for plants and nurturing relationships. To be perfectly frank, my brain wasn’t very good at processing metaphors that night, and perhaps further into summer I would not have been distracted by my shivering limbs and able to better appreciate the wordplay; as such, I hope that the creators will forgive me for my lack of embellishment on their piece in this instance.

In the reception room, which may or may not normally be bedecked by a wall of mirrors, lending itself perfectly to a dance piece, was Symbiotica, choreographed by Megan Watson, and featuring Jordan Bretherton, Kellie Golding, Esther McDonald, Zoe Morris, Logan Ringshaw and Megan Watson. The piece saw these six dancers paired up and grouped together in a series of short sets exploring the topic of love and relationships. I worried for the dancers’ limbs and joints on the hardwood floor, which was neither sprung nor covered in any type of tarkett; but as it was only a two-night run, I hope all were spared any minor pains. It was a nicely choreographed work set to some interesting music and spoken word tracks.

To wrap things up, TCRF’s Home Open format has expanded and has gotten quite sophisticated over the last year; it’s encouraging to see it continue to be a successful showcase of interesting tidbits from around the young performance arts network in Perth and beyond.