Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Company I Keep

Performed by The Second Echo Ensemble
Peacock Theatre, Salamanca Arts Centre, Hobart
Thursday 20th May 2010
By Anneliese Milk
She loves me. She likes me. He is my son. She is my sister. He is my enemy. He catches the same bus as me. She has our mother’s eyes. She is our mother.- Finegan Kruckemeyer
Despite our many differences we all experience the same breadth of emotion and nurse the same desire to be loved. Although our relationships may be unique, complex and varied, we each form the nucleus of the ever-evolving company we keep. At the same time, we all experience times when we have no company at all.

Finegan Kruckemeyer’s The Company I Keep celebrates these consistencies of human existence by staging diverse individuals and endlessly transforming their proximity in relation to others. A son becomes a brother becomes a partner becomes a father. Given that many members of the cast have intellectual disabilities, Kruckemeyer’s exploration is made all the more poignant. These actors triumph in making people see them for who they are, and prove themselves to be as technically capable and artistically inspired as those without disabilities.

Performed by The Second Echo Ensemble, Tasmania’s only integrated theatre group, The Company I Keep is an uplifting, dynamic soundscape of contemporary dance, soliloquy and movement. Narrated by a single screen projecting words, phrases and a rotating procession of people sitting side-by-side on a bench, The Company I Keep takes the audience on a 45-minute journey into some of the more fundamental aspects of life – girls, boys, love, dating, family. The actors move and dance beside, around and in front of the screen – their performances laden with hope and anticipation.

Featuring songs that complement and heighten each aspect of the narrative, the soundtrack lends itself to the actors to create an atmosphere that is in turn: emotionally stirring, climactic, melancholic, light-hearted, comedic, and always engaging. The Company I Keep is a beautiful and pertinent reminder that we are all united in our quest for company.

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