‘The Collective’ are four actors well known to Melbourne’s theatre scene. Eloise Mignon is part of a lineage of experimental theatre, Gareth Davies and Thomas Henning are of anti-theatre Black Lung fame, whilst Eryn Jean Norvill has featured as, in her words “the tragic heroine” in various productions across Australia. I think there is also TV and film involved, but it’s in the former capacity that your correspondent recognizes them, today writing from a hiding place within a Hegel and Lacan performance conference Repetitions in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
To my knowledge, as suggested by the rather banal label for the group (evoking the worst of Soviet-era bureaucracy), they’ve never been on stage before together as a group. So I was looking forward to seeing what happened during Remake, the result of a few weeks development in Budapest.
The terrorizing elements of Henning and Davies’ Black Lung days are present from the beginning, with a hoax about a technical failure and sideswipes at the previous group's poorly executed bump-out, skillfully played to the back row of roaring Aussies by Davies. The actor claims that although he is sensitive to the fact that we are, no doubt, exhausted from sitting through 3 days of lectures about Hegel and Lacan - nevertheless he’s ‘proud to be the final lecture of the conference’ and appreciates our attention for ‘the next two or three hours’. Thankfully, Mignon pokes her head out the back and calls him like a dog - “here boy” - which he eventually responds to, ending the scene.