Possessions

4 Apr

Possessions is an absolutely fascinating piece of theatre,  and not the least reason being that the program comes complete with a bibliography listing both primary and secondary sources.

The play presents the lives of the historical Mancini sisters, who lived in seventeenth century Europe. Though extraordinarily privileged, they still faced a world that refused to acknowledge them as independent of their husbands. (It’s worth remembering, that in England for example, a married women wasn’t allowed to own property until 1882.)  The Mancini sisters tried to live life on their own terms, suffered social condemnation, and went on to publish memoirs presenting their side of the story.

Photo by Penelope Lemon

Photo by Penelope Lemon

Self righteous writers like myself love to pounce gleefully on parochial middle class work and deride it for focusing only on “first world problems”. Is this play a case of “old world problems”?

No, for several reasons.

Firstly, creator/performers Jane Bergeron and Carrie Ann Quinn create a world in which we are playfully transported back and forth between the past and the present. The seventeenth century is never too far from the twenty-first. And the two time frames are in dialogue; Bergeron and Quinn speak both as the characters and themselves. This makes for a show that’s both a lot of fun and thought provoking. Paradoxically, the overt theatricality of the piece isn’t at odds with the aim to present historical truth. It reminds us that we are active participants in our stories, as both characters and authors.

And secondly, only with willful ignorance could it be claimed that the fight for gender equality is over.

Veronica Kaye

 

Possessions by Jane Bergeron and Carrie Ann Quinn

King Street Theatre til 5th April

http://www.kingstreettheatre.com.au/posessions/

 

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