Short and Sweet 2008 Week 1 Wildcards
7 December 2008
The Arts Centre, Fairfax Theatre
The hit and miss nature of the Short and Sweet wildcards is always their appeal. This week presented a couple of beautifully written stories about dying, too many that started and ended with stereotypes and, for the first time ever, one that I found offensive.
Generally, there was a concentration on form, forsaking the joy of story. I have a sticky note on my desk that reads, “Drama is conflict and change”. It’s what I look for in a story. Too many of these plays ended exactly where they started, even if they managed some conflict.
It is petty thing to mention, but too many of these afternoon delights were directed to the centre seats. The Fairfax space lacks any proscenium pretention, so you have to direct to the whole room. I was sitting on the side and could barely see the action in half of the offerings.
It appears that women with great breasts will always be the secretary in office sketches. We knew the entire story from the start and the telling was an office jargon email list and a couple of good jokes – but they were good jokes. It was a tale about cock-sure gen Ys. Well I may be just a cunt-unsure not-quite-gen-X, but I wouldn’t have hired either of them.
Nightmares and Daydreams
Delightfully performed, original and well written, but why did the director have to scream the ending to us so early? If she’s in heels and a frock, and rubber gloves and a pinny, we know she’s cleaning up a big mess. The script might also benefit from developing the dream lover character more – let us know why he’s so great.
A Time For Everything
A delicately written and moving piece played with a balance of love and humour, with a story that flowed at the right pace and ended at the perfect moment. The direction and performances could have come down a level but they would have settled had there been more than one performance.
Original and fun, with a promising premise about waking up in a dream and meeting some dream critters. However, I don’t know why they were animals – were they allegorical, metaphorical, archetypal, symbolic or just there so the actors could use their “be an animal” acting class skills?
Pinot Noir Noir
There isn’t an award for best title, but there should be! Some terrific jokes and slick telling hid the lack of story well.
It would have been worse being stuck next to these people at a restaurant, but it would also be easier to leave. Clichés, stereotypes and only-seen-on-US-made-for-tv-movies-about-oztrailia accents. Oh, and I’d almost forgotten how offensive it is to see a women presented like that. Seriously – it might have worked if they’d brought a blow up doll onto the stage – because at least it might have resembled irony.
Making fun of bogans at yoga is always fun. It was a cool sketch with lots of laughs, but I’m not sure what their story was.
Love Your Poison
Another well written work that told a complete story, developed complex characters, went beyond the obvious, kept some mystery and ended at the right time.
It ended with the same question it began with, but it did make the audience try to answer the question for themselves. The direction needed to decide if it was comedy or drama though, as some actors played for the angst and others just for the giggles. The result was murky grey, rather than black.
If Trevor had an epiphany, I missed it.
This review originally apearred on AussieTheatre.com.