Broadsheet

By Emily Eskell

I Love Todd Sampson

Wondering how to cure a deep-seated love for an ABC TV personality? Check out Michelle St Anne’s haunting public dedication.

The vulnerability of the human psyche is on display for 12 special performances of Michelle St Anne’s installation theatre piece I Love Todd Sampson, which opens Thursday February 28 at Pier 2/3 on Hickson Road. This multidisciplinary theatre work is revolutionising how theatre makers combine architecture, installation art, light, music, film and performance.

This moving tale follows Laura, a lonely (and somewhat schizophrenic) middle-aged woman coping with day-to-day life through the support of the ‘friends’ who live inside her. Searching for comfort beyond the figments of her imagination, Laura begins obsessing about Todd Sampson (CEO of Leo Burnett Australia, co-creator of the Earth Hour initiative and commentator on The Gruen Transfer and The Project).

The charming Canadian ad-man’s voice is consistently heard throughout the piece, as the audience becomes an important, visceral component in the show: “[The audience] enter rooms…to explore and discover images, atmospheric sounds and repeated moments,” says St Anne. “And yes, Todd Sampson does know about it.”

The Living Room Theatre, the registered not-for-profit performance company founded in 2000 by St Anne herself, claims to “explore the subtext of everyday life”. The company has produced 10 original works, including two pieces inspired by the legendary Australian novelist Tim Winton.

St Anne is dedicated to increasing community awareness, creating the show as a tribute to mental health and loneliness. “Our work gives a voice to those vulnerable in our community,” says St Anne. “It’s about framing the everyday into beautiful artistic works, so we can allow others to see into this world through a less confronting platform.”

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