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Fringe review: The Door

Adelaide Fringe

An intense, emotion-charged atmosphere is created in this experimental theatre show which explores the topic of immigration through the experiences of a pair of Middle Eastern women caught between two worlds. ★★★★

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Exit? Enter? A young woman (Mina Zaman) can’t decide whether to stay in Tehran or go back to Adelaide. She came to Australia with her family when she was a child but since then she’s been back and forth. Now, on yet another trip to the city of her birth, she thinks she must remain.

Her dream is to open an English school for children, to teach them another language so “they don’t need to behave like dumb people when they go abroad”.

An older woman (Shiva Makinian) has arrived in Australia. She’s waiting for her lawyer to organise her immigration papers; her visa is about to expire and she’s becoming increasingly stressed. It’s fine, he tells her. Don’t worry, be patient. He’s sure it will work out well but only God knows what will happen.

The two women share the same name. Their dresses and bags are identical, and each wears one red and one black shoe. They are together on stage throughout the performance but do not address each other, although at times their movements connect.

The Door is an experimental production from Iran Saye Theatre Group, a not-for-profit group formed in 2001. The actors, musicians and crew are all from different cultures and different parts of Iran. Their aim is to explore diversity and modern issues to uncover commonalities and then share these with audiences across the world.

The Door, written and directed by Mehdi Mashhour, combines movement, speech, music and sampled noises to create an intense, emotion-charged atmosphere.

The sound of a spinning washing machine evokes women’s work and their cycle of distress. An electronic soundtrack featuring fragments of work by Philip Glass reinforces the repetitive actions of the characters — scarves are thrown frantically into and out of a suitcase while a men’s coat, taken on and off, hints at a husband left behind.

What do we know about the future? Is absolute freedom worth the sacrifice of leaving one’s homeland forever?

The Door reveals impressions of what it’s like to be caught between two worlds. It’s a less familiar glimpse of the immigrant experience and a complex, absorbing look at the limitations of language and lives turned upside down by loss of control.

The Door is showing at the Garage International at Adelaide Town Hall until February 24. Read more InDaily Fringe reviews and stories here.

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