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Review: On the Face of Things

WA Youth Theatre

On the Face of Things | The Parrott House | Jan 31, Feb 12, 13, 14 | ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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In Richard Brautigan’s 1976 novel ‘Sombrero Fallout’, an author begins writing a tale about a Sombrero falling for the sky and creating confusion in a Mexican township. The author soon becomes distracted by his anger over his recent breakup with his Japanese lover and decides to ditch the story he has begun working on.

He scrunches up the pages he’s written and tosses them in the litter bin. The characters on the pages disagree, vetoing the authors decision to abandon them, they continue on with the story.

Alysa Osaka’s fresh new play for the WA Youth Theatre Company Ensemble reminded me of Brautigan’s story. ‘On the Face of Things’ is on one level is a struggle between the author and the actor delivering the playwrights words, but a deeper reading shows a work that says so much more about identity, interaction and having a voice.

A young man takes to the stage, introducing himself as the author of the work but within a few minutes a veil is lifted as he reveals he’s not the author, simply an actor appointed to be the authors voice, it’s just one layer of onion skins peeled off in this decidedly post modern piece of theatre.

A dozen young actors take to the stage, many of them half dressed, some wearing large plastic Elizabethan collars, and they wait for the playwright to give them instructions on what to do.

Should we start by getting some coffee? What kind of coffee does everyone want? Are we comfortable telling other people what coffee we prefer? People can be very judgmental about other people’s coffee preferences, are we actually taking about coffee at all? ..and so begins an intriguing hour of theatre that raises many questions.

The performances are funny and endearing, the pacing is perfect and the script allows the ensemble’s large membership to all have a place in the production. The only criticism, at the very end it’s a little hard to hear the actors when they sit down at the front of the stage.

The Parrott House in Maylands has a slick new layout is a great venue for a fringe show. Make the effort to travel to Maylands to see this one, it’s just a short walk from the Melthan train station.

Book tickets at Fringe World

Graeme Watson

 Alysa Osaka is former employee of OUTinPerth, she used to deliver the magazine to may of the 300 spots you can find us. 

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