Review: (extra)ordinary, (un)usual – pre-recorded film/stage hybrid- streaming on quicket South Africa – October 2020

What: (extra)ordinary, (un)usual Writer: Peter Malicki When: October 1-31, 2020 Where: Online stream (pre-recorded)
Cast: Amy Young, Kim R2, Gizelle Willows, Gavin Werner, Lizanne Peters and Mathew Newman
Booking link: Tickets: R80 Info/questions: Faeron Wheeler 073 395 4457

Relationships, grief, love, confessions and delusions are some of themes tapped into by award winning Australian Malicki writer in monologues which are part of The Monologue Project.  Malicki has made a selection of monologues available for theatre makers on a platform, (extra)ordinary, (un)usual. Theatre makersselect monologues and bundle them together with a “surprise” piece – usually something that has emerged from those involved in staging the monologues. Up to now, the monologues have been staged – on stage – in theatres. During the pandemic, Faeron Wheeler of F Creations – a production company in Cape Town – approached Maliki with the idea of staging (extra)ordinary, (un)usual on the digital stage. Her idea was to work with theatre actors and use aspects of theatre/stage craft in a pre-recorded film to be broadcast via a streamed link on the digital stage. Wheeler has termed her production of (extra)ordinary, (un)usual as a hybrid of stage and film. We see the actors sitting on chairs and then each one goes centre stage and relates a story- a monologue. I don’t want to plot spoil, but here is the list to give you an idea:

Amy Young –The Happiest Day of my Life

Kim R2 – Digging Deep

Gizelle Willows – The Flowers

Gavin Werner – Screams and Whispers

Lizanne Peters – The Story of Darling Brown

Matthew Newman – Keep Calm and Go Kill Yourself

My favourite is Matthew Newman’s – Keep Calm and Go Kill Yourself. This multi-talented actor delivers a powerful and nuanced portrait of a man who is at crunch-point. We learn why. It is a piece which is very relatable right now. Many of us could do with an epic rant. This man has good reason to feel shattered and he is doing his best to “keep calm”. This monologue clip is deftly interspersed with images which flash on screen for a few seconds – like subliminal messages -which demonstrate the inner turmoil that the character is going through. Loved this monologue. Newman brings out the humour beautifully. Just watch. Let’s just say, it will make you laugh about “mindful” therapy. Keep calm and think of a fruit bowl.

As a wrap, we get a collage of personal monologues, created by the artists. This segment bring to mind the dinner party scene in the film Notting Hill when Hugh Grant, Julie Roberts and the rest of the dinner party goers, compete to tell the saddest story – to nab the last brownie. In the F Creations digital staging of (extra)ordinary, (un)usual, the actors face-off with stories gleaned from being in lockdown. Fabulous stories – watch – and laugh. I wanted more.

All up, (extra)ordinary, (un)usualis an interesting and enjoyable digital stage experience. Deftly filmed (by Christelle Grobler). Editing is terrific and there is a sense that this theatre transported to the digital stage. I think it’s great that theatre makers like F Wheeler are exploring ways of staging theatre during the pandemic and providing a platform for artists who work in live performance.

A note on the sound: Streaming from my laptop, initially, I battled to hear the dialogue. After plugging in earphones, it was fine. On my mobile phone, there was no problem. I have experienced sound issues with some other streams, accessed from my laptop. I see from google, that poor quality of sound from streamed shows, viewed on laptops, is not uncommon.  To get enhanced sound quality on a laptop, see