Committed ensemble on a hero’s journey

The ensemble work is a highlight of After Hero. Pictures: Monash Centre for Theatre and Performance
After Hero
Director: Daniel Lammin
Presented by: Monash Centre for Theatre and Performance
Where: Tower Theatre, Malthouse
When: finishes tonight, sold out
Rating: ★★★★

By MONISHA ISWARAN,
arts editor

After Hero, a show performed by Monash University students, tells the story of a quest for identity, and understanding what makes someone a hero.

It provokes thought by tackling pre-existing stereotypes and what happens when you don’t quite fit the mold.

The team of young theatre-makers includes Green Room-nominated director Daniel Lammin and playwrights Jean Tong and Jessica Bellamy, who have come together to create this highly relevant piece of theatre.

The play follows two heroes on a journey to determine identity, understanding and the different elements that make us who we are. It discusses society’s constricting definitions, through different cultures and traditions, weaving in and out of different characters’ storylines in an absurdist fashion.

The characters search high and low for what it means to be a hero.

Despite a seemingly unresponsive audience, the actors maintained high energy throughout the performance and remained fully committed to their characters.

The most impressive element of the production was its ability to move seamlessly between scenes that portrayed different time periods and focused on different characters’ struggles. The minimal props were used effectively and costuming was well suited to the characters – a particular stand out being the glamourous cockroach ball gown that the ensemble member impersonating Barbara Streisand donned.

In its entirety, the product was extremely effective in conveying its theme: how we decide who is viewed as a hero and who is not. It touches on a myriad issues from how we view gender, to differences between the world we know today and what it used to be.

The script is engaging, and the language used is impressive and unique in style.

At one point it seemed the actors broke character mid-play, and the focus was slightly lost after a slip up with their lines. However, after a brief pause they regained their composure.

A special point to note was the fantastic ensemble work, as the actors worked together to create dynamic stage pictures and cohesive vocal work, including some spectacular choral moments.

In its entirety, it was a well-executed piece of work which portrayed important themes in an effective manner.