The Performance by Claire Thomas
The false cold of the theatre makes it hard to imagine the heavy wind outside in the real world, the ash air pressing onto the city from the nearby hills where bushfires are taking hold. The house lights lower. The auditorium feels hopeful in the darkness. As bushfires rage outside the city, three women watch a performance of a Beckett play.
Margot is a successful professor, preoccupied by her fraught relationship with her ailing husband. Ivy is a philanthropist with a troubled past, distracted by the snoring man beside her. Summer is a young theatre usher, anxious about the safety of her girlfriend in the fire zone. As the performance unfolds, so does each woman’s story. By the time the curtain falls, they will all have a new understanding of the world beyond the stage. ‘How each woman interacts with and is altered by the play enacts beautifully the dialectical relationship between art and life.’