Hello My Name Is is not your everyday theatre experience – it is an adventure. Song. Dance. Action. Non-participation is not an option; this is holistic.
From the moment we enter Port Adelaide’s Waterside venue and put on our name tags, the veneer of audience is broken as we effectively become workshop participants and learn about How To Change The World Through Social Interaction.
Creator, writer and sole performer Nicola Gunn is a risk-taker, and with risk comes reward. From concept to performance, Hello My Name Is challenges preconceptions and turns expectation on its head. Twister? Still-life drawing?
With bursts of enthusiasm, juxtaposed with melancholy moments, Gunn keeps us on task. We are here to be challenged, and challenged we are.
A willing suspension of disbelief is compromised immediately and then played with as Gunn leads us through a series of developmental exercises. Her pacing, subtle wit and patient pause keeps us alert and engaged; it is all good fun.
Port Adelaide is a solid backdrop upon which ideas about identity and self-esteem are projected in this Sans Hotel production. Media-savvy Justin Batchelor (video) and Pier Carthew (photography) are to be acknowledged for their contributions, with a distinct visual element incorporated. Likewise, dramaturge David Woods has nurtured a show that engages at many levels.
It is no wonder Hello My Name Is has been recognised with several awards (including Best Experimental Performance at the 2012 Melbourne Fringe). Audiences are stretched from comfort zones into new realities when it comes to a night at the theatre. This is an opportunity to find out who you are. Who knows, you might just meet someone.
Think workshop. Think interaction. Think laughter. Think.
Sans Hotel’s Hello My Name Is is being presented by Vitalstatistix at the Waterside Workers’ Club until April 6.