Blueprint, the new play currently on at the Blue Room, is tremendously watchable and involving thanks to the three actors, Sean Crofton, Jessica Russell, and Phoebe Sullivan. They exude a physicality and agitated nervousness that manages to convey an ambiently compelling story, even if I’m not 100 percent sure what’s happening a lot of the time during said story.
See, despite this being a science fiction concept – three volunteers, Alex, Jayne, and Lewis join a program to hastily speed-up the process of evolution, thereby becoming a genetic blueprint for the rest of the species to leave behind a dying Earth – there are no props. In lieu of props, the stage is set up to make full use of 360 degrees to convey a sense of urgency and fluid power dynamics. And that’s a good thing! But that also means there are clunky lines; clunky because information has to be conveyed in a blatant way, which interrupts the flow of the naturalistic dialogue.
The sound design is quite good though. Rebecca Riggs-Bennet, who also composed the music, fills in the gaps to build & sustain an atmosphere of dread, melancholy, and agitation. It complements the performances quite beautifully, and I wish they leaned a little more on her musical skills to tell the story rather than relying on blatant exposition dumps.
The themes in Blueprint are fascinating and relevant. Like some of my favourite sci-fi films – Blade Runner, Her – Blueprint has a preoccupation with the symbiotic relationship between the inherent softness and malleability of the human body and the cold hardness of cutting edge technology that we often impose on the body; to make it better, faster, more efficient, whatever. It makes for good, tense drama. One memorable moment involved the three volunteers reaching a point where their bones were indestructible, and each person was ready to strike the other with a steel pipe to test the limits of their new strength. It’s unbearably tense, I was genuinely nauseous at the thought that the pipe would slip from their overzealous hands and accidentally strike some hapless audience member right in the face. I have never felt such potent tensions before watching, well, anything. Considering the themes, it was totally fitting too.
Blueprint enjoys performances at The Blue Room Theatre in Perth through June 24th. Head HERE for tickets and more information. The reviewer attended the performance on June 8th.