Amy Garner Buchanan and Hayley Ricketson embark upon their second collaboration and create a show that explores what it means to be a woman trying to claim an identity for herself. In two acts, Bruised Fruit delves into the minds of two women, each with a mission to desperately navigate a patriarchal world that seeks to oppress them.
I just want my freedom and then I will figure out the rest
The first woman we hear from is 1950s housewife Evelyn Parker, who finds herself in a courtroom in an attempt to divorce her husband. She has a desire to discover who the man she loved really is, with the realisation that her own identity is completely entwined with his. The second account charts single mother and chef Nadine, who is searching for ownership of herself and her body in the aftermath of trauma. She finds an almost-solace in gazing at a stripper in a club she regularly attends and it is unclear in her mind what she gains from this fascination. Both characters explore the inner workings of their desires, their traumatic experiences and their attempts at taking control of the world around them.
In equal parts comedic and serious, Bruised Fruit creates a perfect cocktail that is certainly captivating to watch. Buchanan’s performance invites both humour and heartbreak as she explores the hardships both women face in discovering who they are, whilst they learn how to take control of their narratives. Her performance was focused, intelligent and oftentimes relatable as she explores what it means to be a woman struggling to find her voice.
Hayley Ricketson’s intelligent direction ensures that no part of the story is left behind. The simplicity of one actor on a chair, surrounded by fruit, proved to be very engaging. Nothing is overdone as Ricketson ensures that the primary focus is solely, and rightfully, placed on the story-telling. A consistent motif of food, both physically on stage and within the monologues, lays emphasis on a lack of fulfilment felt by both characters. They each feel neglected by the world around them and it is as though food is a stable source of comfort within each story, as it attempts to mask a painful reality. This made for a more hard-hitting and poignant performance overall.
In a world where more women are being encouraged to share their personal stories of survival, a focus on female characters searching for and claiming their own narratives is certainly refreshing and inspiring to see.