Split Lip – ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Split Lip is hard to watch. It’s also one of the most personal things I’ve ever seen. It’s hard to live through somebody else’s eyes and even harder to transport an audience into your own shoes. Ginava succeeds.

Split Lip is one of the most vulnerable pieces of art I’ve witnessed to date, but with an excess of strength as well. It creates feelings you aren’t sure you want to feel, and don’t know if you even know how to feel them. Everything is totally unfamiliar and yet completely relatable. Ginava has captured a portion of the essence of the human experience with Split Lip.

Not only was it abundantly emotional, Split Lip is an absolute stroke of ingenuity. To create entire monologues out of movie quotes, scenes of media, sound effects that the body speaks with. The lip syncing is exact, but the body moving to these synthetic sounds is something else to behold. Ginava is clearly experienced, and I can’t imagine the amount of practise and revisions and effort required to make a performance of such high quality.

It is hard to do a performance with one actor and multiple characters but Ginava is exceptional enough to succeed without awkwardness. Each character is unique from one another, with relationships to eachother that can function without both characters in the room at once. They are all fleshed out as individuals despite being played by the same one person. Each experiences different emotions, different expressions, very different opinions and lives, and it really showcases Ginava’s outstanding range. Their acting is in a league of their own with the agony, fury, ecstasy, and terror they present.

The silences and pauses were very uncomfortable, and I feel that was intended. Ginava took their time with every step, every move, every shiver, every expression. It felt like a waiting room where you don’t know if your appointment will ever come, perhaps not unlike a patient wondering if they’ll ever be discharged. To be clear, the discomfort was a service, not a negative aspect. I can’t really find a fault in Split Lip altogether to be totally honest. Everything is done with purpose. Each breath of the choreography has thought put into it. This show must have been a massive labour of love to create, and that has to be what makes it so great.

The set is minimalist but contains everything required for storing props, setting the mood, and allowing Ginava just enough movement to stay physically interesting without removing the cramped essence of a hospital room. The props were also minimal – reduced to six key items. Ginava brought nothing that wasn’t necessary. Normally I’m a fan of over-indulgence and flashy props, but this was ideal for a stripped-back performance that focuses on the bare concept of the characters. The tech is very tough with many different cues and mediums and uncomfortable silences, but it was carried out smoothly in the capable hands of the Girls School.

This previous award winner is exceptional and very deserving of the praise it gets. I have only ever heard people saying good things about Split Lip and now I understand why. Ginava is a contemporary visionary and we should be proud to have such a revolutionary artist as a Perth local.


The Velvet Card Critic

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