The Domestication Of The Human: A Review Of Cimarron

| March 5, 2014



Image: Image Workshop

Words by Matt Huxley

AS I took my seat for last night’s performance of Cimarron at the Metro Arts Theatre, I turned to my friend Ethan, my companion for the performance, “Are you excited?” He nodded his head enthusiastically as the lights went off.

In the absence of light your other senses heighten, the smell of dirt hit me, as did a faint shuffling noise, coming from the performance stage. As a dim light lit a part of the stage, a figure, clad in furs, appeared. Shuffling in the dirt, they slowly made their way to the back of the stage. Leaving behind tracks in the dirt floor. For the next hour we were treated to an (almost) soundless performance.

The performance was a thrilling tale of the dangers of the excess of modern society and encouraged the audience members to question their role in society.  The person shuffling in the dirt turns out to be the performance creator Sally Lewry. She is rapidly attacked and captured by a hunter, played by Tamara Natt. The hunter trains her to be a servant, essentially she is domesticated. Eventually the primeval woman receives a “promotion” due to good behaviour and she eventually becomes powerful and wealthy. In the dramatic finale the primeval woman becomes blinded by power and wealth and throws away everything she has. The image we are left with is a sheep’s skull on a pile of bricks. At the end of the piece I immediately thought of colonialism and the capture of native peoples to become servants to local royalty. This, along with the dangers of the excess of modern society is what I took away from this performance.

At least that’s how I interpreted it. There are so many powerful images in Cimarron that it is difficult to know where to begin. The reluctance of the primeval woman to look at herself in the mirror, to the violent vagina scratching that she indulges in, to the only sentence of the performance in which the primeval woman declares that a carpet is only fit for royalty to walk on once the blood of animals has stained it red.  It is open to many different interpretations, so don’t merely take my word for it, see it with an open mind, and you will enjoy it a great deal more.

Make of it what you will, that is the beauty of Cimarron, it is open to interpretation, the absence of much speech, aside from the one sentence above and a few barked orders, enables the audience to decide in their own minds what is happening. I would highly recommend seeing Cimarron if you are prone to questioning society as a whole, our place in it and our actions. If you are a fan of powerful imagery you will not be disappointed either.

Congratulations must be extended to the two main performance actors, Lewry and Natt. They played their parts to perfection, and didn’t mind getting covered in dirt in the process. I must especially commend Natt for her chilling portrayal as the huntress, I found it particularly haunting.

At the end of the hour-long performance I turned to Ethan and enquired what he thought of the piece, “Didn’t understand a fucking thing,” he said. Each to their own.

Cimarron is playing at the Metro Arts Theatre in Brisbane until the 22nd of March. You can purchase tickets here.

What did you think of Cimarron? Let me know at or you can connect with us on any of our social media channels.

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Category: ART, FEATURED, Uncategorized

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