The Photo Box


Emma Beech, looking through a box of family photographs finds herself remembering so much from her own life and of that of  her large family. Emma, being an accomplished story teller uses the inspiration of these photos to reminisce about the past and her life today. In the telling, the audience learns something of growing up in a small country town, being in a large, very Catholic family, adjustments to life as a student in a city, living and working in Denmark, up to the present time in theatre.

There is an art in telling stories, and Emma has mastered that art. Various members of her family come alive, not only through their photos as a backdrop, but also in her impersonation of their stance and voice. Dad’s speech at her wedding is a perfect example. Then there is the former fiance from Denmark, whose view of Australia did not fit reality, and whose exposure to a large family Christmas dinner – roast meat and the works – on a day of 41 degrees – was too much of a culture shock; the brother Pete, the one who stayed to run the family business; and the moving story of the birth of Emma’s triplets.

There were videos along with the photos, which obviously did not come out of the photo box, and which, to my mind, were extraneous to the images she was creating solely through her narration. 

The stage was designed to create a visualisation of Lake Bonney, an intrinsic part of Barmera where Emma grew up, and it looked most impressive, despite being carpet and not water. The set was used to good effect as the location of the stories changed. One was left with the sense of what it was like to grow up in a close family, in a small town, where not all was blue water  cloudless skies and sunsets, but which had its darker side. Nor was University study without its temptation to party rather than study, but was a learning experience for all that. Now Emma is older, looking at life and the people she loves in a different way, and this is reflected in the stories that she tells. It is entertainment which leads to reflection, and the more joyous for that.

The Photo Box
Space Theatre  3-7 March
VITALStatistix and Brink Productions
Created and performed by Emma Beech

Emily Sutherland
6 March 2022

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