Adelaide Fringe 2016
Randa, a young Arab Muslim woman, finds herself in love with a stranger at a theatre show and what starts out as a small seed of doubt about her chosen way of life develops into a chaotic fantasy. She is prompted to explore her sexuality and she starts to question her Islamic beliefs. So she turns to the only source she can rely on: the Internet. Randa researches how to become more attractive, noticeable and confident, and before she knows it, she’s becoming just like her secret idol: Beyoncé.
Experience and the Girl takes the audience on a journey that most people experience in private. Through experimental performance, provocative themes and raw emotions the audience is taken on Randa Sayed’s expedition as she questions love, lust and everything in between. Oh, and she is an Arab Muslim, which complicates things a little as she struggles to find the balance between keeping to the canon of her religion, while pushing the boundaries and exploring her own sexual experiences and fulfilling her curiosity.
The performance is an interesting blend of physical theatre and voiceover narration. Sayed herself is mute for almost the entire production, except when punctuating her thoughts with exclamations, and heightening her feelings of frustration and sadness with loud outbursts and utterances. Brigitta Brown impeccably voices Randa’s thoughts and plays her ‘inner voice’, but all eyes are on Sayed as she pulls out an odd assortment of props and costumes from her bag throughout the performance. She sweeps through the train station, avoiding eye contact with anyone, stumbles through the streets of Redfern, skulks around the theatre, bops her way through a club, and crumbles into a heap on stage when feeling lost and insecure.
It was wonderful to see Sayed use just her body, facial expressions, and mime to convey the whole story and a myriad of emotions. She connected with the audience the minute we entered the room, playing hostess and offering us hummus and even then, playing the nervous, jittery character she portrays on stage. The lighting, sound effects and soundtrack were perfectly timed and well chosen for the story and character. There was a good deal of audience interaction and improvisation, all of which Sayed took in her stride and directed like a professional. This was a really engaging piece of experimental theatre that offered a good dose of humour, nail-biting moments, and insight.
Frequent sexual references, mild drug use, audience participation.