Good With Maps

Siren Theatre Co’s Good With Maps is a multi-faceted story masterfully guided by Jane Phegan who takes us through this one woman show. We are gradually brought to understand the link of the Amazon, literature and Parkinson’s disease as the three topics of storytelling intertwine. From the beginning, we are instantly brought into Janaczewska’s world with rainforest noises making us feel like we have travelled to the Amazon, and the heat of the room certainly back that up too, a convenient bonus for the play’s position.

Good With Maps is a fast paced and engaging one woman show.

Jane Phegan is an instantly captivating performer – her rich, warm and confident voice makes you feel at ease, it’s as if you’re listening to a friend, or perhaps your favourite English teacher, considering how educational the show is. Phegan delivers her passionate performance with a fervour and I heard so many facts about the Amazon, I feel like I could quote an encyclopaedia.

Noëlle Janaczewska’s writing creates a bright, rapid and witty character that is relatable, genuine and provokes empathy. We see parallels drawn between Phegan’s adventurous exploration and the issue of mortality. Good With Maps considers knowledge and its power to change our lives. There is a comparison between the explorers going into unchartered territory and those that are dying as both are on a journey to the unknown. Janaczewska’s writing is truly a love letter to literature, celebrating its ability to connect people, to hold a mirror up to the realities of life, or to be used as a form of escapism. Often we see Phegan’s character distracting herself from life’s hardships by thinking about a story that allows her mind to focus on something else.

We also gain empathy for Phegan through her love of literature, which connected her to her father. He is the one who fostered her insatiable curiosity and created a desire for escapism that then shaped her future as an explorer. An endearing relationship that many in the audience could relate to.

An extremely interesting piece of new writing focusing on universal themes – it is informative for children and genuinely relatable for adults. Good With Maps is a fast paced and engaging one woman show.

Reviews by Katie Daniel

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

When the world map was full of gaps, the Amazon basin topped the list of places unknown to explorers. On a trip to the Amazon, the writer ponders this and other questions, as she struggles to deal with her father’s journey through Parkinson’s towards our last great unknown – death. Sometimes sad and confronting, often funny and thoughtful, Noëlle Janaczewska’s performance essay celebrates the power of reading and literature to transport us to places both real and imagined. ‘Every element… is in step and working together to create this fascinating and ultimately heartbreaking piece of theatre’ (DailyReview.com.au).

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