By Catherine Hart
After interviewing Amelia Reid-Meredith and Shadon Meredith recently I have been excitedly anticipating their newest work, Waiting. It is Meredith’s personal story that he has written and is performing as a solo-piece, which Meredith-Reid has directed. To my delight the show is beautiful, magical, and everything that I hoped it would be and more.
Written by Meredith himself, the piece is directed to his young son. It brings the relevance and emotional honesty close to the surface, and I find myself glowing with the heartwarming tones. The script resembles a beat poem or performance poetry, and Meredith’s inflections and rhythm lend themselves to creating a melodic and gripping speech. His inflection and tone is varied and his words articulated, meaning it is easy to follow his words even if the narrative of the piece is sometimes unclear.
Meredith is without doubt an incredibly talented actor. He moves throughout the stage with ease and style, maintaining total control of the space around him. His movements are purposeful and vary in directness, always sustaining a graceful energy that displays his unquestionable skills. Even though he uses the full stage, his comfortability in the space makes it feel like we are in his own home and we are guests lucky enough to be invited in.
The design of the set, lights and sound are exquisite. The set resembles a living room, and the rug under Meredith’s feet adds to the family quality of the show. Lighting at the Refinery is limited during the Nelson Fringe for convenience purposes, but the skillful use of the existing lights and a bare bulb onstage means that we forget where we are. The warm tones and subtle changes between lighting states flow as smoothly as Meredith’s words. In a similar way, the emotive music is calming, entrancing, and perfectly reflects the theme of a tale passed down generations.
Throughout the show Meredith uses various props to tell his story. Early on in the piece Meredith makes it snow, and this is a special moment of delicate charm. The most interesting prop is a tiny toy car, the size of which would usually be lost on such a stage. However, Meredith drives it through the air in such a way that we can all see it’s yellow paint and little fake windows.
Waiting is hands down an outstanding production. Its technical and artistic aspects have been executed to create a world of emotional honesty and absolute elegance. The Nelson Fringe Festival should be proud to be the host of such a stunning first performance, and I can’t wait to see how the show will develop in the future.