Eleanor Stankiewicz: Nanna-stasia
You see, Eleanor’s excitable seven-year-old imagination had her convinced that her Nanna’s story as a Lithuanian refugee during World War II, was similar enough to that of the Romanov Princess Anastasia, that her Nanna simply must be Lithuania’s own Disney princess.
This remarkable blend of a seven-year-old’s innocent and joyful perspective on the world, with the awful trauma and poverty experienced by her Nanna, Jessie, made for a stunning, multi-layered performance, full of both laughter and tears.
Stankiewicz’s physical performance and mime skills effortlessly transported the audience from Perth to Lithuania, to Genoa to Adelaide. The way she made each place and situation feel different with no props or set changes is a true testament to her talent.
Adding to the story’s depth was Eleanor’s ability to seamlessly play multiple characters. Even when in conversation with one another, she was able to make each character very real, heartfelt and even funny.
For lovers of the film, don’t worry – all the best show tunes make an appearance. Eleanor belts out all the classics, even launching into a pretty impressive duet between two of her characters.
While Jessie’s story was at times terrifying, and even overwhelmingly sad, Nanna-stasia never felt like this.
Eleanor used her connection with the audience and the joy she found in Anastasia as a child to keep the show full of love, hope and a deep appreciation for family.
It’s this kind of outstanding story telling that let the audience feel like they knew Jessie, and allowed us to sympathise with her story. To me it’s moments and performances like these that make FRINGE WORLD as a whole so special.
Quite simply, Nanna-stasia is a big hour of Fringe-filled heart, and a must see for people of all generations.