Are you in the mood to have your mind blown? How would you like to watch an intricate, compelling story told in the simplest fashion – with very few props, no stage and a lot of physical activity? Two years in the making, Blueprint will guide your thinking toward the types of ideas explored and popularised by the success of TV shows such as Black Mirror and The Twilight Zone. It will make you think about where we are in the progression of our society: in what direction are we venturing, and is it even the right one?
Showing at The Blue Room for only a pretty penny, Blueprint takes the viewer on a journey of social discovery through the experiences of three characters – Alex (Jessica Russell), Jayne (Phoebe Sullivan) and Lewis (Sean Crofton). The play is set in a not-so-distant-future at a space-camp of sorts (though I never heard the location be confirmed) where three strangers are chosen to enter into a program designed to create astronauts in just six months.
As per dystopian fiction, nothing is quite as it seems and our unsuspecting trio may emerge from this space-program altered in more ways than one. The play is confusing at first. As in a similar style to Black Mirror, we are thrust inside the story and placed in a world that we recognise and yet is foreign to us. The protagonists have all come to this program with their own agenda – and when they discover what their purpose is there, some are less pleased than others.
The stage was fashioned into a theatre-in-the-round, with the stage in the centre like the hole of a donut and the audience surrounding it. This established a feeling that the audience were a part of the performance, but on the outside looking in – much like a black mirror.
The physical theatre in this production was performed to a ‘T’ . The actors’ use of the space was incredibly well executed and they succeeded in transforming the stage from one scene to another using mainly their bodies and only a handful of props. The production would not have been as convincing without the expert treatment of the lighting, controlled by Phoebe Pilcher, who did not miss a beat. The lighting kept the pace, moving the story along and leaving the audience with high praises for miss Pilcher’s work.
Blueprint employs a very minimalist approach to tell its story, however, do not mistake this for an easy option. The use of a few, simple props and no set provided the actors with much freedom to be creative and allowed them to truly explore this world being portrayed. On the other hand, this also meant that the actors had some spacial restraints as the performances are very physical and stage area was quite small, but they did not let this inhibit the story in any way.
With issues such as global warming, and the mass production of food and clothing on our minds (among other things) it is of no surprise that we are concerned with such things as the end of our race, whether it be through our struggle to eliminate disease or anything else that makes us vulnerable.
Space travel is a course of action we have heard discussed time and time again. If we destroy the earth and render it inhospitable for the human race, will we attempt to venture out in space in search of a new planet to call home? And how do we feel about genetic modification and designer babies?
These are questions raised in Blueprint, and we join the three characters on their journey toward discovering what it really means to be a scientific guinea pig and the ethical conundrums that inevitably arise in the process. The show was gripping, funny, heartbreaking and positively brain-tickling.
The show is running for another two weeks and it comes with my full recommendation.
Blueprint is showing until the 24th June at The Blue Room Theatre in Northbridge. Tickets available http://blueroom.org.au/events/blueprint/