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The Arrival

Scene from The Arrival.

The Arrival arrives

The Arrival, a physical theatre performance created by NuNah Theatre Company and performed at the Stade and the Masonic Hall as part of the Coastal Currents arts festival, follows a man’s migration to a new land. HOT’s Zelly Restorick was in the audience. 

In one of the opening scenes of The Arrival, we see the central character, played by Julian Humphries, saying goodbye to those he loves and who love him, who clearly don’t want him to leave. Playfully they snatch his case and his hat, jump on his back and cling to his body, conveying heartachingly how much they want him to stay. However, for some reason, he determinedly departs, leaving them to mourn his loss from their lives. Film footage, cleverly produced to look like that of an old home movie, is played at intervals, showing poignant scenes of the loved ones’ past shared experiences and happy times together.

The Arrival 2The man, dressed in a crinkled cream linen suit, hat perched on his head and clutching his old battered suitcase, then continues on his travels, accompanied by other anonymous raincoat-clad passengers. On his arrival in the land of his choice, we watch him face unfriendly customs and passport officials, try ineffectively to stop rushing passers-by for directions, be on the outside looking in at other people’s daily lives, share intimacy with a woman who crosses his path and encounter a bunch of drunken revellers, who pick him up in their chaotic wake, ransack his suitcase, try on his underwear, share their booze and drop him, leaving him sprawled on the floor. Finally, the performers re-enact the original departure scene, backwards, slowly, in a dream-state, ending with the man and his loved ones reunited as they started in the beginning.

I was left wondering about what would happen when the man awakens. Would he persevere with his journey or return home?

The performers played a wide range of roles – right up close and personal to the audience – with each one intensely involved with and living their part, changing their physical presence to represent the different characters. The movements often required precision timing and accuracy, with bodies speedily weaving in and out of one another across the whole performance area. Costumes were simple and cleverly supplemented by single additional items to represent changes in character.

Without a doubt, it can be extraordinarily challenging to arrive in a new land with no contacts, no work, no shared language and no place to go. It is imaginings of a better life that catalyse someone into journeying to another land – and there can sometimes be a huge gap between their fantasy and reality.

The NuNah performers spent six months rehearsing for The Arrival, developing complicated and intricate choreography and precision team work. All their time, creativity and energy has reaped rewards with the delivery of an impactful, thoughtful and engrossing performance.

Cast of performers : Vicky Heath [artistic director and creator of NuNah], Alison Cooper, Laura Dunton Clark, Julian Humphries, Mike Jeffries and Sophie Utting.

NuNah website here.

More information on their Facebook page.


Posted 11:17 Wednesday, Oct 2, 2013 In: Performance

1 Comment

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  1. Alison Cooper

    Thank you Zelly….very detailed and thoughtful….cheers

    Comment by Alison Cooper — Wednesday, Oct 2, 2013 @ 11:50

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