It would be absurd to walk into a lounge room you mistook for a toilet and find yourself trapped in a very funny play. It would be a bit like being born and then trying to work out where you are, who you are and if these are your absurd lines or if they have been written by an insecure, egotistical playwright.
The anonymous HE, well played by David Jeffrey, walks into a comfortable middle class lounge room, mistaking it for a toilet, sees the audience and is embarrassed. He attempts to go back out of the room but the door will not open. He unsuccessfully tries the doors on the other two walls which only leaves the invisible fourth wall. After some deliberately predictable miming the fourth wall does turn out to be impenetrable. Continue reading PLAYTHING @ DEPOT THEATRE MARRICKVILLE→
How often do you see a funny existential play that examines the reason and nature of theatre, life, death, meaning and the sheer randomness of the universe?
A man, played impressively by Heath Ivey-Law, walks into a comfortable middle class lounge room, mistaking it for a toilet, sees the audience and is embarrassed. He attempts to go back out of the room but the door will not open. He unsuccessfully tries the doors on the other two walls which only leaves the invisible fourth wall. After some deliberately predictable miming the fourth wall does turn out to be impenetrable. The man is joined by a woman, played with confidence and humour by Jodine Muir, who mistakes the room for a toilet and similarly cannot escape the room. As they can see the audience they begin to wonder if they may be in a play. Neither character can remember anything prior to entering the room. In a profound and revealing question the woman asks, “Perhaps I didn’t exist before I walked on stage?”
The actors discuss the motivation and philosophies of the playwright, Simon Dodd, from various perspectives. The masculine and feminine perspectives are explored, and in this case the man is the more philosophical and cerebral character, whereas the woman is much more practical and grounded in this world. Plaything directly questions the relationships between playwrights, the actors, critics and the audience. Does the audience come for escapism, philosophical musings or for a challenging and thoughtful evening?
Plaything contains many theatre jokes and references. The actors attempt to work out what the next plot point could be and try to trigger events by calling out cues. Peter Adams performs well in his brief role and is one of these critical plot points. The young couple are joined on stage by an older couple, played with elegant and appropriate ham acting by Richard Cotter and Tricia Youlden, which gives the play another level of dynamism and an opportunity to explore youth, optimism and exuberance and to compare these attributes with experience, wisdom and the jaded acceptance of ones fate.
Simon Dodd’s PLAYTHING manages to be entertaining and philosophical whilst cleverly exploring why playwrights write, actors act and audiences go to the theatre.
PLAYTHING was performed at Factory Theatre, Marrickville as part of this years’ Sydney Comedy Festival.
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