Monday, 1 November 2004

VCA Post Graduate Directors' Season 2004, Nov 1, 2004

VCA Post Graduate Directors' Season 2004  
Family Running For Mr Whippy by Catherine Zimdahl   
Have I None by Edward Bond  
VCA School of Drama, Dodds St Southbank (OK)November 1 to 16, 2004
Reviewer: Kate Herbert

The VCA Post-Graduate Directors' Season comprises five scripted plays. Here is a taste of two.

Director, Kelly Somes, chose by Catherine Zimdahl 's Family Running for Mr. Whippy. The play is an abstract, comical view of a suburban, Australian family viewed through the bemused eyes of a teenage daughter. (Emily Taylor)

Somes contracts the cavernous VCA theatre with a witty, deceptively simple design. (Paulina Avellendeda-Ramirez) The design heightens the ordinariness and fragility of the family and defines its home with child-like chalk drawings on the floor.

A chalk picket fence surrounds them, a screen door is sketched on the floor, teacups are outlined on a table and the letters B. B. Q. scribbled on a blackboard are Dad's 's pride and joy. (Michael Frencham)

The Girl struggles to understand her parents' mixed messages and confusing behaviour. The Mum (Holly Myers) and Dad alternately adore or attack their son (Ben Franzen) and daughter. They revel in their tea ritual, cleaning, the new barbecue and Dad's mowing.

Somes cunningly uses a Chorus as various outsiders trying to invade the home: annoying Doorknockers, complaining Neighbours, a buzzing blowfly and The Worries that haunt the Girl's troubled sleep.

Gorkem Acaroglu directs Edward Bond's short play, Have I None. The play is futuristic, sharp-edged and eccentric. Sara (Amanda Falson) and Jams (Thomas Milton) are a young couple dressed identically in prison-issue orange suits.

Their lives are regimented. The authorities control the food they eat, the work they do, all social activities and even their allocation of stark white furniture. They are allowed no personal papers or photos and the past is abolished. People suicide en masse in this world.

They bicker like children over trivialities and when Grits, (Sean Barker) a scruffy traveller, arrives on their doorstep declaring he is Sara's brother, their ordered lives spiral out of control.

Acaroglu, like Somes, defines the house space. Jacqueline Lee's design is a cage-like framework. The shadows of a table and two are painted onto the floor. In this rigid home, even the reflections of objects are fixed.

The play is funny, sometimes compelling, shifting from social satire to a darker, more threatening tone as we watch Grits imprisoned, Jams panicking about his job and Sara joining the ranks of the many suicides.

LOOK FOR: Three more plays 9-16 November: Tattoo  by Dea Loher, Miss Julie by August Strindberg, Stone by Edward Bond.

By Kate Herbert

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