Ich Nibber Dibber comes out of the stalls with toilet paper on her shoe and onto the Campbelltown Arts Centre stage, but she looks hot.
Black out. Three angelic figures draped in ivory satin and plucked from the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel appear suspended in static perfection; a soft glow radiates from within. Beat. The audience erupts into laughter. The production design, costuming and ethereal expressions crescendo and the joke lands with precision inciting cackles and gut laughs all round.
Ich Nibber Dibber is a new Australian work developed in residency at the Campbelltown Arts Centre in South-West Sydney. The piece is an eighty minute condensed version of ten years of girl talk recorded by three good friends; Mish Gregor (the tall one), Natalie Rose (the aboriginal to Mauritius one) and Zoë Coombs Marr (the lesbian one). Recorded in rehearsal rooms, dressing rooms, theatres and lounge rooms on cameras and voice recorders this piece is quite literally girl talk. Irreverent and personal, overarching themes were poo, vomit, fingering and Richard Gere. Although compiled and edited almost seamlessly the passing of time was signposted along the way with the mentioning of personal events such as marriage and babies to the not so casual mentioning of world events.
Improvisational in their style, the girls’ relationships are comfortable and relaxed, which places the audience at ease for the duration of the show. The only time the masks slipped was with momentary memory lapses by one player, much to the enjoyment of the other two. The improvisational style and content of the play, leaves the impression that you are just eavesdropping on a bunch of girls talking on the train on the way to the city on a Friday night.
Ich Nibber Dibber’s production is minimalist in design. The lighting design by Fausto Brusamolino is soft, effective and adequate. At no point does it bring attention to itself through extravagance or underuse. The set designed by Michael Hankin is simply chairs that elevate the girls into their celestial positions. Fantastic in their construction, they are first invisible to the audience, gaining form along with the characters. The only thing that distracted me momentarily throughout the production was the sound design by Michael Brown. At times I couldn’t tell if the sound was coming from outside the theatre space or whether it was part of the production. Other sound effects sounded slightly contrived, not that it detracted so much from the onstage action, but that it wasn’t as resolved as the other aspects of the production.
Costumes by Leah Giblin were dramatic and simply over the top, in a way that only Michelangelo could conceive. Costume was a big part of the polished face of the project; together with the lighting design the impact was effective and spot on.
Ich Nibber Dibber is another interesting addition to the trickle of Australian written and visual works that are redefining what is meant by an Australian story. Campbelltown Arts Centre director Michael D’Agostino says, “I think it’s a really important work from a multigenerational point of view where they’re looking at coming of age, growing up and having the ability to look back at that point… and I love what they say about Richard Gere.”
If you are looking for an theatrical meditation that is deep and meaningful, this is quite simply not it. But, it is meaningful in that it is composed completely of the babble that consumes us everyday. A reason why Seinfield is an interminable success is because the conversation about nothing is something. And here that conversation contains heavy issues like race, sexuality, politics, marriage inequality, death, marriage, birth, divorce, murder and suicide. But this production chooses not to wallow in the heaviness of those things as much as acknowledge their presence and move on; except for the conversation about poo, that conversation is reoccurring and relatable.
Presented as part of the Sydney Festival 2017, this new work is very well refined, “I think it just adds a different perspective on contemporary theatre,” says D’Agostino, “in the way that this has been produced… the way the narrative has been embedded creates a very different perspective.”
Ich Nibber Dibber is a light and joyful peace of contemporary theatre whose voice is unmistakably Australian. It’s like your best girlfriend growing up that you really miss, and when you see her as an adult you feel no time has passed, the conversation flows and soon you’re pissing yourself laughing.
20 – 28 January 2017
20, 27 & 28 January, 7.30pm | 21 January, 2.30pm and 7:30pm
Venue: Campbelltown Arts Centre
Theatre Company: pace
Campbelltown Arts Centre and Sydney Festival are proud to present Ich Nibber Dibber, a new theatre work by Australian performance ensemble, post.
With a script developed from 10 years of recorded personal conversations, Ich Nibber Dibber maps the lives and practices of three women coming of age in the 21st Century. A single conversation spanning a decade of friendship, bowel movements, birthing moans and tongue piercings. Lying somewhere between drama, comedy and political commentary, Ich Nibber Dibber looks at what it means to be a woman, an artist, and the way we make sense of the world in conversation with those nearest to us.
post are Zoë Coombs Marr, Mish Grigor and Natalie Rose, a collaborative performance ensemble based in Sydney. Their work has been presented by Sydney Theatre Company, Arts House and Belvoir St Theatre. Their work is often concerned with the political, and attempts to engage with issues of control, gender, identity and politics in a way that is funny, engaging, and accessible (but not always). Their most recent work was Oedipus Schmoedipus, was a joint commission from Belvoir St Theatre and Sydney Festival, supported by Performance Space, Arts House and Bundanon Trust.
Ich Nibber Dibber is co-presented by Campbelltown Arts Centre and Sydney Festival. Ich Nibber Dibber is supported by the Federal Government through Australia Council for the Arts, its funding and advisory body, and by the NSW Government through Arts NSW. Ich Nibber Dibber was originally developed with the support of Playwriting Australia and Bundanon Trust. Campbelltown Arts Centre is a cultural facility of Campbelltown City Council and is assisted by the NSW Government through Arts NSW.
Artists: post | Mish Grigor, Zoë Coombs Marr & Natalie Rose
General Admission $30 / $26 + booking fee | Recommended for ages 16+