Everyman and his God

July 26 2012

Woody Allen’s God opens with an actor and a writer unsuccessfully trying to come up with an ending to their play.  This then explodes into a post-modern fantasy of theatre and reality, before it finally ends with the actor and writer reciting the same lines that they started with.

My blog post will not be anywhere near as witty, nor as perfectly constructed – however, it shares one aspect of Allen’s God in that it is confused about where to begin and where to end.  Maybe it was because of the thought-provoking content of the two works?  It’s more likely because it is almost midnight on a freezing Canberra July and I haven’t yet turned on the heater.  But that doesn’t really matter because what I saw was so damn brilliant that the need to share it has seemed to override basic human needs of warmth and comfort!

So, the facts:

  • Everyman Theatre are a Canberra based theatre company led by Jarrad West, Duncan Ley, and Duncan Driver
  • They are currently performing Woody Allen’s God and Mark Ravenhill’s pool(no water)
  • It was inspiring, outstanding, <insert superlative here>
  • If you are free on Friday 27 June or Saturday 28 June YOU MUST SEE IT!!!

Normally I don’t like self-referential art that much.  What do I mean by hating self-referential art? If you really hated the second paragraph of this blog post (and hate that I am referring back to it even more), that is exactly what I mean by hating self-referential art.  Artists generally create art about being artist far too much.artartart.  Both one-act plays were inspired loosely by artists and arts making.  God was about theatre and structure.  pool (no water) was about a group of visual artists who ultimately trash the work of a former friend whose success they despise.

So why was it so brilliant?  It was perfectly executed by Everyman’s cast and direction.  God was perfectly funny, and pool(no water) was perfectly tragic.  The comic timing of Duncan Ley and Jarrad West’s could have come straight from a scene of Monty Python;  The creative energy between West, Steph Roberts, Amy Dunham and Zach Raffan in pool(no water) was simply inspiring.

The format of two one-act plays was great and wished there was more of this about- hopefully Everyman will return to this sometime in the future?

There were two things I didn’t like so much.  Although Mark Ravenhill’s pool(no water) was engaging, thought-provoking, heartstopping, etc. I found the whole work far too depressing.  Not that there is anything necessarily wrong about that – but Ravenhill cleverly brings out the very worst in his characters, and paints a bleak picture of human nature.  Although he ends with a surprisingly optimism of the mundane, you can’t help but watch it and put yourself in the characters shoes, thinking “am I really that terrible”?  The cast were effective in giving the audience just enough belief of their own humanity to allow us to make this emotive leap.  Disturbing, creepy.

The second complaint was the length of Jarrad West’s outfit in God!  Although making a whole audience blush through the first 5 minutes of any show is certainly an achievement!   The show opens with an actor and a writer unsuccessfully…. (blegh.. STOP IT!)

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