Directed by Lakia Pattinson
The General Public Theatre Company
107 Redfern Road, Redfern
Season: 17 – 20 September
Growing up in a world of ‘endless possibilities’ can be crippling when reality creeps in and disillusionment strikes. These days, as young people are constantly bombarded with reminders of the preeminent success of those in our generation (thanks to the wonders of social media and the like) it’s no wonder Courtney Ammenhauser decided to devise a play entitled Quarter Life Crisis. A one-woman show, Ammenhauser is bold in her artistic decisions and prevails with great gusto, filling the theatre with laughter.
On the eve of the protagonist Steph’s 25th birthday, it dawns on her that her life is perhaps not all that she envisioned. Using mundane, occasionally crass and regularly amusing anecdotes, an extraordinarily ordinary picture is painted of Steph’s life. A dreary office job that seems to be sucking her life away, lack of any semblance of passionate romance and generally meagre life prospects pave the way for a lively self-deprecating comedy. It is evident that Ammenhauser has the knack for unveiling great delight from day to day life occurrences.
It takes guts to put on a show solo, no doubt about it. Without a large cast, crew and production team to bounce off and sustain each other’s energy levels, you have to be incredibly self-sufficient knowing that if something goes wrong, nobody is there to provide a safety net. Ammenhauser warmed into her performance, increasing energy as she gained momentum on the stage. Once she got started, it was a roar. She utilises various characterisations to bring conversations to life as well as gestures and sound effects to indicate actions that would otherwise be difficult to portray as a sole individual. Lighting, operated by director, Lakia Pattinson, was deftly designed in order to enhance the comic appeal in a montage of snippets from Steph’s daily life. Music also shaped the atmosphere at some points and was warmly received by the audience.
When you can’t perpetually keep reality at bay, what better way to deal with it than the art of comedy? As we age and realise that ‘adulthood’ may not be all it’s cracked up to be, and that your life is far more ordinary than anticipated, Quarter Life Crisis shows us that we can take heart knowing that there’s plenty to laugh at, even in the humdrum.