FRINGE REVIEW: Lucidity Offers an Intriguing Look on Reality
The lights cast across the set of JackRabbit Theatre’s latest production dim. When they at last reappear, the audience is confronted with a salesman (the main character, Alex, played dynamically by Andreas Lohmeyer) advocating the fact that “Life, what we call life, is only two thirds of our potential life,” and the consequential need for the remaining third of one’s life—sleep-- to be utilised to the max. How is this to be attained? Through the achievement of ‘lucidity’ in one’s dreams; essential control of every element within the brain’s unconscious conjuring in order to practice actions for the real world, or perhaps fulfil one’s desires. It is a money making escapist empire—and such is the essence of Lucidity’s story.
Alex is trapped in a cyclic existence. He alternates between the existent world, working as the founder of his own lucid-dream promoting company Lucidity, and the world of dreams he escapes to himself, abusing his own methodology in order to escape the tribulations of the real world and falling into something of an addiction to lucid dreaming. Sensitively and humorously played by Alex Malone is Alex’s younger sister Billie, on the cusp of a promising art career and tired of needing to look after her older brother as he sleeps through days, refusing to acknowledge the world truly around him.
The skilful Shaynee Brayshaw as the flirtatious dream-remnant of his absent ex-wife, Em, provides much of the magnetism we see drawing Alex back to lucid dreaming time after time, in the hopes of being able to live with his lost love in the alternate reality. However, with the emergence of a waking-world romance in the form of the sweet yet down-to-earth Ashley (played endearingly by Charlotte Devenport), Alex finds himself on the cusp of a vital choice: to either succumb to or abandon his pursuits of lucidity.
Lucidity grapples with many large-life topics such as the extent of control one has over their life, the nature of escapism and the monotone reality of existence we all face at some point in life. These issues are skilfully interwoven into a hilarious and often poignant script, penned by Michael Abercromby (also the director), and performed using a minimalist set that allows the utilisation of transformational theatre to portray both dreaming and waking worlds with a switch of lighting. The choreography of movements is jolting at times, giving off an air of frightening roboticism in some sequences (often in the dream world as Alex strives to hold on to the fleeting control he has over dream-figures), overall transporting the audience into Alex’s own dreams and closer to understanding his numerous predicaments.
Lucidity, and the phenomenon of lucid dreaming it explores, is such a fascinating concept. The human endeavour to control the conventionally uncontrollable is examined to a T through the topic, as well as grief, moving forward, responsibility and, ultimately, the essence of love. Lucidity can be a confronting watch at times, though for good purpose: it serves as a warning and reminder to the viewer to live in the present. If you’re looking for a highly engaging piece of theatre that moves you, angers you and makes you laugh and think, Lucidity is a show not to miss.