Kate Herbert is theatre reviewer, Herald Sun, Melbourne & formerly for Melbourne Times. Kate is a director & produced playwright (20 plays). Scripts published by Currency Press. She worked as an actor, comedian, improviser & teacher of Acting, Improvisation & Playwriting. Kate is currently Convenor of Professional Writing & Editing, Swinburne University. Read her reviews here or at: www.heraldsun.com.au/entertainment/arts. NB Explorer Browser doesn't always work on blog.
Thursday, 6 June 2002
June… the place does not matter, June 6, 2002
Written by Louise
Morris and Rebecca Rutter a CIA
production in La Mama carpark, June 6- June, 2002
The Bouffon is a wonderful and strange form of
theatre with its roots in Mediaeval France. It is a grotesque form of black
clown that is popular with experimental companies here. It is rarely done well.
In June….the place
does not matter, a developmental production,
CIA has a go at the Bouffon. The work
is predominantly unsuccessful in this stage of its development.
The concept and
location are interesting. The piece is performed in and around a caravan in the
carpark in front of La Mama. A family of misfits runs a carpark. A series of grotesque and deformed characters
stumble, crawl and fall into the arena.
The audience huddles
around a brazier or wraps itself in blankets.
The idea is a good
one and perhaps more work will increase its definition. The twin lesbian
characters ( Morris and Anna Voronoff OK) could develop into a grim clown
Another character is
crippled with leg braces and a crying baby lies ignored amongst the rubbish.
My favourite was a little terrier whining and confused as actors leap out of the
The final scene reveals
a fine design element when we are herded by a cowboy through the van into the La
However, the actors
are vocally limited and the troupe that teem out of the van on occasion are
awkward. Dialogue is clumsy and sections of poetic text are incomprehensible.
In Bouffon's original
form- so goes the unwritten story - the deformed, inbred children of the French aristocacy lived
in the swamps as outcasts until All Souls' Day, when they were permitted to
perform in the cathedrals of Paris.
They were happy in their
isolated community and lived unhampered by their deformities. This group of disaffected
fringe dwellers performed cruel parodies of the ruling class and church.
There is yet to be
an appropriately acerbic and relevant version of this for contemporary
Australia. An actual disabled or minority group would make a political
statement through the form.
CIA's work does not touch the Bouffon's potential
for social parody. It remains a thin satire with no darkness, depth or intensity.
Some of the actors have not grasped the style yet.