Cross Street Studios, Auckland
March 13 | Reviewed by Imogen Neale

A COMMON SIGHT?

People walking out of a theatre building, chin pressed into their collar bones, their hand/s in their hair (scratching or not) and their eyes glazed in introspection (for that little clue that would set the truth free).

Why? Because so many plays try to be and do so much: so many ideas, so many perspectives, so many insights, so many tangential issues, so many outcomes…

Which is understandable. Given that a play, or a photo, or a film, or a story – in fact anything creative – is normally only ever created if it is so imbued with meaning or perceived significance that to not make it would be worse than never having had the idea in the first place.

But here’s the thing – no mater how big or profound the playwright’s idea, people are tired, they need to get dinner, they’ve had to find a car park (that costs $4/hr), they’ve got to get back to work, the kids need help with their homework, their best friend’s gig starts in an hour… Life never stops calling.

So, contained, clearly executed, clever yet inclusive things are much appreciated (hence why the long black coffee or tequila shots are so popular).

Enter the simple, yet intensely touching piece Blinkers.

Written (and performed) by Natalie Medlock and Dan Musgrove (both Toi Whakaari graduates) Blinkers is an exquisitely contained meditation on human communication (and it isn’t a contemporary multi-media piece so no, no Facebook or bebo pages projected against the back wall).

Blinkers’ two protagonists live in an apartment building: Amy (Natalie) in the apartment directly above Monty (Dan).

Amy likes Patti Smith (loud), whiskey (lots), air guitar, cold toasted sandwiches and not answering her phone or going to work.

Monty likes horses, drawing and cups of tea. He also likes short blue bus-driver shorts and eating pineapple out of a tin (whole rings, not diced).

Together, given that Amy’s floor is Monty’s ceiling, they live apart: one fastidious man galloping on the ceiling of one messy woman.

The brilliance of the play lies in its confidence.

Such as… such as the fact that while Amy is undoubtedly a complicated character (don’t we all think we’re complicated?) her idiosyncratic complications aren’t performed to within an inch of their life.

Nor does she do that popular but so painful ‘slip out of my drunken stupor long enough to share a moment of deep introspection with the audience’ routine.

Similarly, at not point does Monty rip at his bus driver shorts and bemoan the fact his mother failed in providing him with a strong male role model in his formative years.

He and she simply are who they are: completely incomplete strangers who become less incomplete but no less strange.

Without wanting to spoil the performance for all those who will go and see it – and oh yes, there will be an Auckland season, I have someone’s word on that – savour every moment of the traumatically tender moments around the macaroni cheese and Chester the porcelain horse; poetry in no (okay, very little) motion.