Two voices, one mind, one woman. Amy Nostbakken and Norah Sadava play the inner voice of protagonist Cassandra, harmonising, conflicting, and whirring around each other in an innovative display of the female psyche.

This premise works as an extremely effective device. This clambering collaborative self seems more like the true mind than any single, independent monologue does. Sometimes, they speak or sing in perfect harmony; other times, one steps forward. The performers seem to have an eerily innate sense of who should speak each thought or emotion, although neither of them explicitly represent one side or characteristic of Cassandra’s personality.

Their flawless synchronicity is especially impressive, and once you settle into the rhythm of the piece, you find yourselves thinking of them as two parts of one whole, rather than individuals. Rhythm is exactly the word, too – the play moves in waves, voices lilting and dipping and soaring. The narrative is not linear but rather simultaneous, a crashing of thoughts, memories and emotions all at once. Quickly, this became natural. I recognised this collision as similar to the way my own thoughts worked – not waiting in an orderly queue to be noticed one at a time, but rushing in on each other without structure.

Mouthpiece isn’t just about a single woman, though. Instead, it tackles the idea of womanhood in a universal sense. In preparation for her mother’s funeral, Cassandra considers her opinion of her mother, society’s opinion of her mother, and society’s opinion of herself. She starts to wonder how much of the feminine identity is really organic and how much is artificial, forced upon one in the form of societal expectations and roles.

An extraordinarily well considered, deeply thought insight into the essence of femaleness, Mouthpiece combines experimental theatre, movement, voice, sound and song to visualise the invisible. Ambitious and unique, it’s an education of the self.

Words: Chiara Margiotta

Picture: Brooke Wedlock

Mouthpiece, CanadaHub @ Kings Hall, Aug 26-28, times vary

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