Words || Cameron Colwell
“The earth, by definition, has a centre. And only the fool that knows it can go wherever he pleases, knowing the centre will hold him down..but when your sense of centre shifts, comes whizzing to the surface, the balance has gone. That balance my baby has gone.”
As if it were dense poetry, or an abstract painting, I didn’t fully appreciate the brilliance of Montague Basement’s Crave until I stopped trying to make sense of it and instead let the strength of the script and the power of the performers wash over me. Crave, written by Sarah Kane, is non-linear, experimental, and without names for any of the characters, meaning that it stands up well to the reputation for the Sydney Fringe Festival. My only previous experience with the play was vaguely knowing that Björk had once written a song in tribute to it. While the temptation was there to pre-empt my viewing with an exploration the linguistic tapestry of allusions and metaphors in the script, in retrospect I am glad that I decided to dive in not knowing what to expect outside of the dark themes of sexual assault, drugs, and trauma. The latter, in my interpretation, being the justification for the play’s non-linearity.
Not that the play’s merits lie on its script alone. Director Michaela Savina has done a brilliant job at bringing order to the chaos of this play, making clever use of the music of Nils Fram to up the atmosphere of tension and paranoia. Once one becomes acclimatised to the confusion of the play, it engulfs the attention. Each of the actors involved are commendable: In particular, Kate Plimbett and the memorably creepy Clayton Moss, whose characters are only known as C and A respectively, skilfully establish a chemistry that is both repulsive and enthralling to watch.
It is almost difficult to recommend a play as intense and disturbing as Crave. Obviously, I can’t punish a piece of fringe theatre for succeeding at being daring, wildly experimental, and unlike much else I have ever seen. For that reason, I urge anyone with an interest in experimental theatre to watch this play.