Where: Watch at home
When: season is finished
Content warnings and accessibility: discussion of mental health issues, potential self-harm. The video is closed captioned.
I have a confession to make. My initial interest in Ember was sparked by the fact that it was online. I’m still a bit nervous about big crowds sans vaccination, and also really like my couch: a show I could log into while holding a cup of tea sounded great. I was only really hoping for a nice, quiet evening with something interesting to watch before bed.
I was pleasantly surprised, therefore, by how compelling Ember was. Following the quarter-life crisis of millennial Fleur, Ember explores the slow-motion collapse of a young woman’s emotions, relationship, and identity. Written and performed by Isabella Perversi and directed by Emma Gough, Ember touches on a feeling of anxiety for the future that I think could be said to characterize the millennial condition.
Pre-recorded, Ember is very well choreographed: Perversi speaks directly to the camera, vocalising her internal monologue a la Fleabag. Minimal set dressing and props simultaneously give it the feel of a monologue in a theatre and the kind of rambling chatter you might mutter while you were pottering about at home. The real strength is Perversi’s writing: Fleur is instantly recognizable as the kind of annoying, but ultimately sympathetic awkward friend in the group. Given that it was pre-recorded, I’m not entirely sure why Ember only ran for a few nights: surely one of the exciting aspects of this new kind of production is that it can be showed more frequently than live performances?
It’s exciting to see artists’ exploring new modes of theatre in pandemic-situations. Ember’s watch-at-home model builds on this emerging theatrical aesthetic.
3 stars – Brydie Kosmina