Speechless speaks volumes for performers

Toni Main and Sara Di Segna.
Toni Main and Sara Di Segna.

HOW do you make a work about your failure to communicate when you are a failure in communication?

This was the challenge performer Toni Main and contemporary dancer Sara Di Segna faced while devising part theatre, part dance production Speechless.

The pair met in Melbourne while working on a small dance performance; a first for Main and a first in Australia for Di Segna who had moved from Rome, Italy.

“We were like two fish swimming into this giant, strange pond and instantly clicked,” Main said.

“I’m a trained theatre director so my process has been mainly off stage, but when I moved to Melbourne three years ago from Adelaide, I decided to start putting myself in the works I was creating.

“Since then I’ve been devising all sorts of works from live art performance to some typical theatre to dance.”

Diagnosed with dyslexia in primary school, Main had already devised a solo show about her struggle to communicate with people when she met Di Segna, who was facing her own struggle learning English.

“I told her she would connect well with the work, so I invited her to participate in continuing to explore these themes and we performed it as a live art piece together,” Main said.

“We just worked so well that we decided to take it a step further and engaged Georgina Capper to turn it from a live art piece to a full-length work.”

The duo will present Speechless as part of Fringe World at The Parrott House, Maylands from February 17 to 21.

Although it will be Main’s first trip to Perth, Di Segna will be returning following six months living here when she first arrived in Australia three years ago.

“So, for her, it’s like bringing her life in Australia full circle,” Main said.

“When she first arrived in Perth her English was atrocious.

“She could only speak a little of it, so to be acting onstage in Perth is a little moment of glory.”

THE ESSENTIALS

What: Speechless

Where: The Parrott House, Maylands

When: February 17 to 21

Tickets: www.fringeworld.com.au