There’s a lot of camouflage in Dropped. The physical sort is evident from the outset. Two female soldiers dressed in desert gear sit tented beneath netting waiting to be rescued. The scene is heavily military. There is the gun, the uniforms and the overwhelming desert colours, vividly illuminated in searing sunlight. There is also the eerie silence of a lonely, isolated, desolate place. Then there is the wind and that mysterious stuff (sand? rubble?) that drops through the netting.

They successfully create the tension that must come from being confined in close quarters under such desperate conditions

The unspecified time the two of them have spent in this confined space is beginning to take its toll. They are both confused and their minds are working in strange ways, indeed time itself is confused: yesterday, today, tomorrow and last year are all beginning to merge. Each one often has doubts about the veracity of what the other says. They both have memory losses, because it’s hard to remember things out there, but they still manage to reminisce. They disagree, argue, then say sorry and make up. They have a seemingly meaningless mantra that things “are not mutually exclusive” and that “there’s more to life than money, sex and my amazing career”. Then there are the babies: dead ones, imagined ones, half alive ones and ones they’ve made, but more importantly there is no vodka.

Sarah Cullinan and Natalia Sledz give equally measured performances and interact comfortably with each other. They successfully create the tension that must come from being confined in close quarters under such desperate conditions. They are a team working together yet create recognisably different characters. Their timing, the pauses and the inflections all do justice to this Pinteresque script, suggesting that even the dialogue is many places is a camouflage for things they feel but do not want to say

The set is striking, but given the context it looks clinically clean as do the the two soldiers whose uniforms seem not to have a mark on them. The fake automatic rifle looks just that and really adds nothing to the sense of this being a military situation. There is no sound of guns and apparently no imminent danger of attack.

Time in the desert passes slowly in Dropped and perhaps that is intentional. There are many lows and very few highs. Life seems to be loop recording that just keeps on playing without going anywhere: interesting rather than moving; curious rather than compelling. 

Reviews by Richard Beck

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The Blurb

Awarded Best Local Theatre Production at the Adelaide Fringe 2016, Dropped is lyrical, thought-provoking, sometimes darkly funny and confronting. While they wait for rescue, two female soldiers play games to hide uncomfortable truths and inconsistent memories. They are sleep-deprived, under severe stress and witness to many horrors. They seem calm but this is fleeting as their involvement in the war unfolds and their disturbed emotions are forcefully revealed. ‘Dropped will remind you why we still go to the theatre’ ***** (GreatScott.media). ‘Dropped is a relevant, meaty, interesting think piece, a credit to the Fringe’ (TheBarefootReview.com.au). #madeinadelaide

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