Our February picks for tertiary study
John Kachoyan - AustralianPlays.org Literary Manager
Hello and welcome to a brand new year – 2016 and it’s already nearly the end of February. To kick off the New Year I have chosen two plays written quite far apart (about 15 years or so) but which both concern characters facing the first real phase of adulthood.
Didem Caia’s VILE premiered at La Mama after having won the RE Ross Trust award and receiving development through Playwriting Australia. As its title promises, VILE is a tough and uncompromising work. Its structure is non-linear and its setting, the outer-limits of a major city, gives its action a bleak and distressing palette. There are wonderful roles in this play and a beautiful, dark complexity, which slowly opens up to the possibility of change for its central character. This is a meaty and rich work with great challenges in all departments. Caia is a new voice in the Australian landscape and I think we’ll be hearing a great deal more from her in the future.
Peter Webb’s Public Dancing was originally titled and performed as Glib; Western. Set in a group house in any western inner-city it chronicles the lives of four 20-something ravers and goths trying to find something meaningful in their lives… or not. It is quirky and sometimes laugh-out-loud funny, but what really strikes me about this play is that it is written without judgment. The empathy Webb has for these four people who are in many ways completely lost (and they know it) is really striking. Unlike other plays of this genre where sheer hopelessness is all an audience can experience, this play teases out some serious political and social reasons for the stasis so many of us have experienced and/or are experiencing in this first-world, globalized and over-entitled age.
Tom Healey, Literary Manager