Tali Brash’s many compelling voices were set on a small portable stage alongside her pianist (Glenn) who provided atmospheric music and occasional backing, and her stage manager (Emily) who was diligently at the ready to assist with prop and costume changes.
Not only was One Roof Southbank a unique place to hold a one-woman show, but also rather fitting for Tali’s work as a self-development practitioner. Founder of the ‘Voices Of Movement’ and a clear advocate for self-expression; the multi-coloured feminine façade, which surrounded the audience felt so perfectly and deliberately placed to reflect the nature of Tali’s work. Her detour from traditional theatre was evident from the outset as Tali took her audience through a meditation and encouraged them to “sit with a curious and open heart” – a personal touch that I believe a lot of performers and audiences could benefit from.
Whilst this non-traditional environment undoubtedly worked in her favour contextually, the limitations of the room did tend to inhibit some of her performance on a logistical level. Should Tali have had a small lighting rig, and a mic throughout, dialogue wouldn’t have gotten lost during emotional shifts and the house lights would not have lit the audience in a constant reminder that a performance was occurring. This encouraged audience members to chatter, which was incredibly distracting. There is something so magical about getting lost in the dark of the theatre and focussing only on the work, which is being lit on stage. Even though Tali’s performance was grounded in self-development rather than a straightforward theatrical show, each of her individual voices deserved a spotlight.
Despite this, Tali’s self-directed character work was strong; every voice vastly different from the next. As each voice emerged, Tali used costume to signify the change in character, which her pianist mirrored with various hat changes. This was most endearing when Tali adopted her child-like persona and Glenn donned a dinosaur headdress in camaraderie. The most evocative aspect of Tali’s show was found in her raw, breathy voiceovers, which sounded like they were recorded during moments of inspiration throughout long commutes. The imperfect nature of her voiceovers matched with her non-eventful costume changes allowed the audience to reflect upon each voice and really listen to why Tali chose to interact with each facet of self, and how they’ve helped her to evolve over time.
Overall, Tali’s vignettes of her psyche were relatable, messy, and damn funny! Admitting to this show being somewhat improvised, the moments which involved audience participation slotted in seamlessly. Whether it was Betty (the ‘true blue’ Aussie woman who loves to bake) getting an audience member to try her questionably made scones, the inner child who encouraged us all to dance to Kylie Minogue, ‘Southern Bell’ Darlene who taught us how to clean like a pro, or bogan Joe Bings who proudly made the audience participate in his air guitar competition; keeping the audience on their toes worked in Tali’s favour.
I personally found that all of her archetypes, which she was the most certain in, were the most potently received. For example, her ‘masculine’ Michael Jackson-esque embodiment was physically impressive, aggressive, pointed, and powerful. Esmeralda, her ‘Queen’ voice also evoked the same reaction when she confidently stated, “If someone has taken your power, take it back.” Even her stereotypical representation of a rebellious millennial juxtaposed the likes of 1900’s ‘Betty’ so much so that we witnessed the genuine misunderstanding and confusion that occurs between generations, and the fear that accompanies stepping out of one’s generational comfort zone.
However, my favourite voice of all would have to have been Tali’s ‘authentic’ voice, which felt soft and feminine as she wore all black and released her untameable curls. From this place, she took us through a queer, yet captivating movement piece as her last spoken word voiceover played. There was a contentedness in her energy, which was palpable, and the audience warmly received her Tibetan bowl singing to end the ritualistic show.
Tali received a standing ovation for her voices, which speaks for itself.
If you’re interested in learning more about The Voices of Movement and you feel drawn to expressing your own voices to someone other than your shower curtain, then head to www.thevoicesofmovement.com/program/ to find out more!