• Amy Toledano

Killing It presented by Ameena Hamid Productions

What is it?

Killing It is the heartfelt story of 3 women of three generations all dealing with the same grief, but in their own way. This new play is written by and starring Josephine Starte.

What is it about?

A Grandmother, a Mother, and a Girlfriend have all lost someone - the same someone. Shortly into the play, we learn that a young man has gone missing at sea and is presumed dead. The girlfriend moves in with the grandmother as her "carer", the mother makes YouTube videos about her flowers, and the Grandmother is fighting reality by concocting an assassination on the US president.

We witness the young Girlfriend as she tries to channel her energies and grief into stand up comedy. We witness the Mother as she denies that her son is dead by spending her time on flowers and her money on a private investigator to search the sea. We witness Grandma as she loses grips with reality as she enacts her cosplay.

These three women are so strong and are joined by not only a person, but by a tragic event which bonds them even more. We watch as these women try to cope with their grief and as they learn that life must go on, there is no space to be vulnerable. If you are vulnerable, you get left behind.

How did it make me feel?

While there are moments of true dark humour, the play does invoke a feeling of a deep sadness. Watching these three women try to battle something they don't have solid answers to is heartbreaking. As an audience member, you can see that they are all still so very lost but also trying to move on; you can feel that each day for these ladies is a struggle and it's all their effort just to get up and start again.

In a way, it is also quite relatable. Starte's character tries to funnel her grief into performance, which is what Starte has done with her own personal circumstances in this instance. A lot of artists turn their grief into amazing art and a lot of stand up comics fight their own version of depression or sadness. After all, sad things that we all relate to do make is laugh when it happens to someone else. This is kind of a sick realization when you think about it and can allow for some self reflection on our own society. That being said, to witness someone else be so bold and open about their suffering can and does help many others who could be going through a similar situation. Starte has done a wonderful job at taking relatable life circumstances and holding a mirror up to the audience for us all to either connect with or relate to.

Anything else?

The stage is set up in a simplistic and effective way by what I presume is a collobartion between set designer Anna Reid and director Lily McLeish. Reid divides the stage into three sections: Mother's house, stand-up mic, and Grandma's house. Each reflecting a bit of the individual woman. We see Mother's kitchen with all her flowers and tripod, we see Grandma's house with her old armchair, lamp, and record player, and we see Girlfriend's dark, empty, lonely stage and mic. This undecorated set truly adds to the raw emotions of the play.

Additionally, the use of the props in this production is quite ingenious and creative. Framing the stage in a U shape, the props all rest inside troughs (if you will) which are filled with water. So each time a character reaches in for a prop, it comes out wet and dripping with water. This allusion works very well and has a powerful effect - that being that the Son is lost and sea and reflecting that the character's may feel like they are drowning in sorrow. It is a beautiful and subtle addition to this unembellished set.

Starte and McLeish already have a few awards under their belt and this production only goes to show that the two will continue to find success in their creative endeavors.

Natasha x

Killing It is playing in The Network Theatre, VAULT Festival, until the 26th February 2020.

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