Originally published in RIP IT UP
The heat, the claustrophobia and the uneasiness of Calamity sets in almost immediately as you enter the cellar. The immediacy of this part-theatre, part-art performance piece is not only inspired, but inspiring. The Adelaide Independent Theatre Collective premier piece is a beacon of hope for emerging Adelaide artists, whilst telling a valuable story.
Directed by Rebecca Langman, and written by Shaylee Leach, Calamity reflects the real world anxieties surrounding sexual violence, its roots and its effects. Leach’s script draws its strength from how it chooses to explore these issues: through story, part-verbatim and part-devised, it relates a very real scenario of sexual assault in a small town that cannot and should not be ignored.
Langman’s direction is superb. She uses the Tunnels venue to great effect, and allows the actors to interact with the space and each other in very interesting ways. The cast are uniformly good; of considerable mention are Olivia Carletti and Nives Baldassi-Winderlich, who both give understated but riveting performances as Lily and her therapist respectively.
Australian theatre needs to give a platform to unheard voices and fresh ideas. What makes Calamity such an excellent work is that it engages with a very relevant and important topic. This is an extremely affecting piece that shrugs off any trace of pretension to tell an honest and timely story.