Underground Production, the homegrown UQ theatre company, has presented their final play of the 2013 season. Autobahn was a series of seven scenarios where regular people are put in extraordinary circumstances. Playwright Neil LuBute has put in these ordinary but exquisite moments where characters reveal their most human personalities in unassuming ways.
Director Meg Ham transformed this play into an intimate and immersive experience. The set had a rustic and simple metal car frame and the audience sat onstage – only a few steps from the scene. Each scene tells a story of two people riding in the car. As they progress, the dynamics of each couple are revealed through their dialogues, where more and more interesting, and sometimes even daunting, secrets are told. It is as if these very intimate and personal moments were being heard by unwitting, almost exploitative audience.
But through these stories, the barrier between characters and audience seems to have lifted as they begin to set out their sad states of affairs. Their course of action in the past, as they are retold to us in their conversations, had a significant impact to those two people who are now sitting in the car, presented to us in the most honest way possible. The relationships are well-crafted and delicate, even in the broken ones in the daughter-mother scene.
This is a brutally honest play with a very simple premise: showing us just how significant a short car ride can be, and taking us on a heartbreaking and exhilarating ride. With Underground Production wrapped up, we can only anticipate more eclectic and remarkable performances from them in the coming year.
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