THE PHOTO BOX by Emma Beech
Space Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre
3 - 7 March, 2022
Emma Beech’s art is both simple and hard to define. Labels like direct address performance, docu-drama, verbatim real-life portraiture, all seem to rob her storytelling of its straightforward warmth and worth.
Conversations with other people have always been central to her shows, but a few years back something happened that persuaded her to turn the lens on herself. Her mum and dad gave her a box of family snaps and, as she had a performance that night, she thought it might be fun to rummage through them for the first time in front of an audience of strangers.
Amongst all the embarrassing hilarity of hairdos and frocks was a shot of her mum, taken aged 40, holding her baby self, the little surprise born eight years after the last of her eight(!) brothers and sisters. Emma, at the time, was 40 herself and mother of 5-year-old triplets. Out of that instant electric connection between two very different women The Photo Box was born.
It’s about a town in regional South Australia where everyone knows you, and a girl left to make her own mistakes and grow herself up. Family, choices, memory and myth-making, and how the baby of a big Catholic brood became devoted to the search for unsentimental truths. Borrowing from cinematic installation, The Photo Box is a funny and heartfelt new work from one of our most gifted performers.
Commissioned by Brink Productions and Vitalstatistix. Presented as part of the 2022 Adelaide Festival.