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  • Writer's pictureAlex First

June (Fabricated Rooms) at Theatre Works - 70 minutes

Caroline Lee takes the stage as June, a woman of a certain age who hasn’t spoken to another person in more than a year.

So, over that period – apart from accidentally speaking out aloud – she has lived in silence.

Now June is taking us, the audience, into her confidence to break the drought and explain why.

Over 70 minutes she gradually fills in details of her life.

Photos by Deryk McAlpin

She informs us that she is free to make certain choices because she no longer needs to work.

She explains how she met her husband Sam and how the pair collected rare and unique glass bottles.

They have three children – Alice, Theodore and Ella – born within five years of each other, now grown, all of whom she is proud.

June talks about love and loss, and how the tenor of utterances change over time.

An only child, she opens up about her mother and what went down with her.

And then there are suicidal thoughts that have entered June’s head more than once.

At one point, early on, June pauses knowingly and says nothing for a couple of minutes, so we get a feel for what that would be like.

In channeling June, Caroline Lee is considered and reflective. She doesn’t hold back. Her monologue is peppered with anecdotes.

Her delivery style is natural and easy going. She draws us into her character’s triumphs and tribulations. We want to know more – what caused her to shut down.

Lee is eminently watchable. Her facial expressions, as well as her tone, are drawcards.

The narrative unfolds in a wooded setting (design is by Zoe Rouse). Three long narrow strips of painted cloth hanging from the ceiling with shrubbery underneath represent trees.

I was also conscious of the lighting (by Lisa Mibus) and sound (by Jess Keefe) that helped set the mood as Lee traversed the stage.

June is a compelling, insightful and impactful work, written by Melbourne-based Patrick McCarthy.

It is well delivered by an accomplished and seasoned performer, who appreciates the value of fine stagecraft.

Directed by Emily Tomlins, it is on at Theatre Works until 5th August, 2023.


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