On Saturday 28 August 2021, Bravo Brisbane had the immense pleasure of experiencing work by some of Brisbane’s up and coming artists as part of Vena Cava’s Freshblood Festival. Physical Harm and Heights is a new work devised by graduates from the Queensland University of Technology’s Bachelor of Fine Arts (Drama) program. The newly established Rosebird Collective comprising of Amyelle Pilgrim, Georgia Shaw, Jacqueline Cantrel, Eliza Allen and Clarise Ooi delivers Physical Harm and Heights in a heart-wrenchingly short twenty minutes that has the audience in tears.
Directed by Amyelle Pilgrim, Physical Harm and Heights is a short play that delves into the psyches of five young women as they engage in a magazine quiz at a sleepover. Confronted with the question “What’s an event that changed you as a person?” each of the young women face their wounded pasts in a short monologue vignette stitched together with physical theatre and chorus work. Pilgrim’s direction of this production is clear and serves the overall theme of the show well. Supported by the choreography of the physical theatre by Georgia Shaw, Physical Harm and Heights takes the audience on a deeply intimate emotional journey in just a short twenty minutes.
Beginning with an emotional internal monologue delivered poignantly by Georgia Shaw about the effects of a parent leaving and broken families, Physical Harm and Heights sets the somber tone right from the very start. Shaw’s performance is heartbreakingly sad and feels extremely personal and authentic. Supported by the rest of the cast working seamlessly together as a chorus that emphasizes specific words within her monologue, the weight of her dialogue is amplified.
Then follows a moving vignette about friendship from Clarise Ooi. Ooi’s performance is genuine and feels real and relatable. Ooi’s monologue is one of the lighter pieces in an otherwise extremely dark work but this excellent performer transports the audience into her own pain of struggling to make and maintain friendships and feeling like an outsider. Once again her performance is supported by the rest of the cast emphasizing key words in a chorus.
Amyelle Pilgrim’s monologue is yet another tragically painful piece about a child whose foundations are shaken when her parents’ marriage breaks down. Pilgrim is the absolute standout performer of this production, delivering words with such authenticity that the audience truly feels every emotion. Jacqueline Cantrel then recounts the effects of her mother’s death on her and her relationships with others. Cantrel’s performance is hauntingly bittersweet and her delivery is skilled and believable.
The final monologue by Eliza Allen is another one of the slightly lighter pieces in this work focusing on the effects of healing from a past romantic relationship through selfcare and friendships. Allen is a highly talented performer that brings a certain innocence to her recounting that is refreshing and convincing.
Overall, Physical Harm and Heights demonstrates the immense potential of these bright, new young performers in a show that is short and bittersweet. The choral work in this piece is phenomenal and executed with such precision that the individual vignettes feel weighty and pertinent. Rosebird Collective is a promising group of performers and Bravo Brisbane cannot wait to see what Pilgrim, Shaw, Cantrel, Allen and Ooi do next!
For more information about Rosebird Collective, you can follow them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/rosebirdcollective