|Photograph by Phyllis Wong|
DEAD TIME, is a new Australian play, by Fleur Beaupert, Devised by Paul Armstrong, (Kailah Cabanas), Lara lightfoot, Abi Rayment, Robert Rhode, Melissa Kathryn Rose, Eleni Schumacher and Barton Williams.
DEAD TIME has been built from verbatim and interview transcripts concerning the case of Dr Mohamed Haneef, wrongly accused, arrested and held without charge for the longest period on record in this country under the 'dead time' provisions in the Commonwealth Crimes Act for investigating a terrorism offence. The legalities and its 'nicieties' and not so nice 'niceties', the hysterical spin of the media and of the politically expedient Government and its various men and ministers of action, especially, Kevin Andrews and his determined but wrong-headed justification of his pursuit of a clearly innocent man, and the growth of the principles of a lawyer, Peter Russo, are all spotlighted and addressed. One experiences bewilderment, disbelief and a simmering anger at the exampling of the exposition of the Social Dominance Orientation Theory, that may be an explanation of our Government's continued 'shocking' behaviours (check out this story on New Matilda…)
The writing is crisp and clear, expertly collated, and the directing inventive, daring and extremely admirable. Ms Beaupert has elicited terrifically confident performances from all the actors, especially Robert Rhode playing Dr Haneef - it is a performance of such relaxed naturalness and complexity in its responses to the nightmare of wrongful accusation, that one can imagine that only Alfred Hitchcock would have dared to invent a like one for one of his paranoia psychological studies. The films NORTH BY NORTHWEST (1959), or THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH (1934,1956), spring to mind.
In the tradition of Version 1.0, but better, and in reminiscence of Milk Crate Theatre's THIS HOUSE IS MINE, seen earlier this year, DEAD TIME deserves your time. Ms Beaupert, is clearly an artist of interest for those of us who like to be lucidly confronted/alerted to the world we live in. Both her Writing and her Direction in this production presage such a statement. She has more than a talent to amuse.
Go see. It has limited performances, but try and catch it.
P.S. The Queensland MP and solicitor Peter Russo, who represented Dr Haneef, is attending the final performance on May 29 for a post-show discussion with Fleur Beaupert.