Know Your Role & Our Place – Actually Acting

Know Your Role & Our Place – Actually Acting

Actually Acting‘s inaugural Fringe performance, “Know Your Place,” showcases a diverse range of talent spanning generations, with performers aged 7 to 74.  This double bill features two one-act plays: “Know Your Role” by Brandi Owensby and “Our Place” by Terry Gabbard.

The first play, “Know Your Role”, delivers a compelling exploration of societal gender expectations through a series of scenes and monologues, each meticulously crafted and well executed.

The ensemble cast captivates the audience from the very outset with a dynamic performance, particularly in the opening sequence featuring boxes with balloons.  The large ensemble works seamlessly together, with choral elements executed with precision, setting the stage for what unfolds as a thought-provoking journey.

One standout moment is Charlie Zorkovic’s portrayal of the son grappling with his father’s revelation of wanting to transition to a female identity as well as his own regret for not expressing his love before his father’s passing.  Zorkovic’s delivery is confident, unafraid of pauses, and deeply impactful, drawing the audience into the character’s introspection as he navigates the complexities of acceptance and regret.

Other notable performances in “Know Your Role” include Ellie Harradine’s portrayal of the quintessential beauty pageant mum, complemented by Alex Burton’s adept depiction of the reluctant daughter, whose facial expressions and stance vividly convey her inner turmoil.  Imogen Russo impresses as a cheerleader, skilfully engaging the audience with her confident use of eye contact.  In another of the scenes, the portrayal of male figures surrounding the female characters offers a poignant commentary on societal dynamics.  Noteworthy, too, is Lexie Hasda-Hall’s powerful performance in a scene addressing the distraction posed by female students to their male counterparts, executed with strength and conviction.

Throughout the play, freezes are used effectively, adding depth to the storytelling, and often held with precision by the ensemble.

One praiseworthy aspect of the production is the absence of accents, allowing the performances to resonate universally.  Each character, from the softballer to those grappling with identity, is portrayed with strength and conviction, demonstrating the versatility of the ensemble.

The direction of the play is commendable with scenes transitioning seamlessly and rapid-fire dialogues handled with finesse.  However, there is potential for enhancement through lighting changes and effects, to elevate the visual impact further.

After interval the audience returns to the stage having been transformed into a serene lakeside dock.  This set is notably effective as a backdrop for “Our Place”, a play with five unique narratives, each offering a window into the human experience, from moments of levity to heart-wrenching revelations.  Throughout the performance, the use of sound effects, from the croaking of frogs to the melodic chirping of birds, added depth and atmosphere to the scenes, immersing the audience further into the stories being told.

All the scenes offered a powerful exploration of diverse emotions and insights into the human condition.  The scenes were executed with proficiency, making the most of the set’s potential and highlighting strong acting throughout.  The actors (Billy Rowen, Oona Stephen, Katelyn Monaghan and Joshua Elford) in the first scene are to be commended for allowing the audience time to laugh prior to continuing their dialogue.

The second scene was masterfully depicted by Ron Hoenig (the father) and Bronnie James (the daughter).  They flawlessly embodied the complex emotions and dynamics of a daughter grappling with her father’s dementia.  Ron Hoenig’s adept mime perfectly captured the essence of the daughter’s recollections, while Bronnie James expertly portrayed the daughter’s tender efforts to awaken her father’s memories.  Together, their performances evoked a profound sense of empathy and authenticity.

The fifth scene stirred strong emotions in the audience.  Vaughan Galloway portrayed a teenage boy who has left home after an argument, with Anna Johnson-Saison playing his persistent baby sister, who follows him in an attempt to convince him to return home.  During the scene, an unintended accident occurred when the actor accidentally banged the sister’s head on the ground while trying to revive her.  This unexpected moment elicited a mix of gasps and nervous laughter from the audience.  Despite the unplanned incident, both actors remained steadfast in their roles, demonstrating remarkable professionalism and commitment to their characters.

The epilogue brought the ensemble together on the dock for a final scene, delivering a poetic reflection on the true essence of “Our Place” – a culmination of both comedic and tragic elements woven throughout the performance.

Director Alicia Zorkovic and her team promised “Know Your Place” to be “hilarious and heartbreaking in turn”.  They delivered on that promise.  The audience experienced both laughter and tears.  On their website Actually Acting quote George Bernard Shaw –
“You use a glass mirror to see your face; you use works of art to see your soul.”
These two one-act plays invited audiences to not only see but also feel deeply into the depths of the human soul.

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This production was reviewed by:

Terry Mountstephen
Terry Mountstephen
Terry spent her childhood and young adult life in the theatre with the Bunyips. During that time, and since, she has been involved in every aspect of a production including performing, directing, producing and all jobs in between. Terry is also a performing arts teacher. In 2011 Terry was one of the founders of Zest Theatre Group.

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