Devised by Mikala Westall and Adriane Daff. Red Line Productions. Old Fitz Theatre. May 15 – June 6, 2021

Reviewed : 16 May, 2021

Photo : David Charles Collins

The title is suggestive. The publicist’s words even more so …“A devised, lo-fi science fiction, dark comedy about how our sense of worth, wellbeing, and meaning-making in a technological world cater to anxiety, doubt, and existential dread.

Nearly every noun they’ve used has multiple connotations, undertones, nuances! Multiple inferences in a single sentence. Multiple triggers for a world beset by conspiracy theorists and influencers and truth seekers. Multiple triggers that might inspire people with original ideas and the imagination, talent, and skill to realise them.

Hyperdream trips every trigger. Using a combination of video technology, fast-paced, tightly choreographed acting and a weird, almost futuristic script – four performers rush the audience recklessly through a series of  bizarre scenes that could be real, could be surreal, could mean a lot, could mean nothing.

Photo : David Charles Collins

This is what theatre of the 21st century can be. Innovative; using technology more creatively; mixing different bits of the new with different bits of the old. It might be a little confusing; it might even upset conventional expectations! But isn’t that what theatre has always done when the old ways become a bit stale and predictable? And new ways allow theatre makers to say what they want to say more effectively?

The creatives behind, in and around Hyperdream are doing just that. Adriane Daff, Angela Mahlatjie, Josh Price, Matt Abell-King, Mikala Westall and Nat Jobe, with sound designer Julian Starr, have devised a theatre experience that is strange, funny, provocative and dark.

It uses lights, strobe, cameras, a screen, torches and strange combinations of sound. It uses aluminium foil, green walls, grey track suits, towelling slippers and a wedding veil. It uses short, sharp bursts of dialogue in short, sharp scenes, interspersed with quick, carefully choreographed changes that have been meticulously rehearsed. And, it stretches the imagination about a really unnerving theme:

If you could re-do a moment in your life, a moment whose memory haunts you … would you do it?”

For most of us, probably not. But if you could, you might go on “a journey through obsessions, coping mechanisms and our understanding of reality”. Hyperdream covers all those possibilities … and more.

Hyperdream is a stimulating and inventive piece of theatre and it’s fun as well. It would be an excellent experience for HSC Drama students studying Multi-Discipline  theatre. I do hope that message gets to Drama teachers!

First published in Stage Whispers magazine.