Thursday, August 9, 2018

King of Pigs

Photography by John Marmaras

Red Line Productions presents, KING OF PIGS, by Steve Rodgers, at the Old Fitz Theatre, Cathedral St. Woolloomooloo. 1st August - 1st September.

KING OF PIGS, is a new Australian play, by Steve Rodgers.

This play has domestic violence as its target for discussion. Says Director, Blazey Best:
I've been hearing a lot about the 'Epidemic' of Family Violence and - faced with the statistics and the sheer relentless regularity of horrific stories in the news - it's hard to dismiss this as hyperbole. ... (KING OF PIGS) is not an apology for the perpetrators of violence, nor is it setting out to lay any blame on its victims. It's an invitation for us all to look at ourselves, our attitudes, and our prejudices.

Ella Scott-Lynch plays the Woman - playing five different women in five different scenarios with four different men: an uptight banker type (Ashley Hawkes); a young sex adventurer-addict (Christian Byers); a 'sporty' brutalist with a competitive streak (Mick Bani) and a therapist, father figure (Kire Tosevski) to a young primary school son (Thom Blake -at my performance - or, Wylie Best, the alternate).

A series of scenes over 70-minutes reveals to us a history of the arc of all, from the first meeting to the complications of partnerships that begins as love and dwindles to acts of violence. The time shuffled scenes are documentary/drama-like glimpses into the relationships. The men of the company play different distinguishable representatives - each an easily recognisable 'type' of man - with a committed honesty, revealing men entrenched in a culture that permits, enables, their unconscious entitlement, as the strong, the cultural patriarch, to vent frustrations with acts of violence, on the women, the weaker, the matriarchs.

Ms Scott-Lynch, as Woman, gives a performance of much virtuosity covering the plight of her five women without judgement or sentimentality. It is a demanding task delivered with focused energy, skills and creativity. A tour de force.

The play in its cool exhibition simply asks us to observe the women who weather the cultural inflictions from the male of our species. It seemed, to me, that the play was demonstrating -suggesting - that all of us, both the male and the female, must begin to take action, to talk, to protest, for change to happen. Both sexes must consciously awaken each other to the tragedy and injustice of this violence. A bridge between the sexes needs to be built and sustained.

Says Steve Rodgers of the advice given to him from his father, a counsellor of men who have anger management problems, some with domestic violence convictions: "When examining an issue that seems intractable, unchanging, and even hopeless, try to find some hope."

In the concluding scene of THE KING OF PIGS, the young boy reads a school speech for his parents - mother and father - that he has prepared. A speech about rocks, of the geology in the heart of this country. It is simply erudite, insightful and caring. Here is our hope, the innocent excitement of being alive, pure and optimistic, of a young soul not yet 'corrupted' into the status quo of the living human culture, appreciating the heart of his nation - "How', asks the mother,"can we keep him untainted?" - (I paraphrase).

Statistically, two women are being killed every week.

The play is Designed by Isabel Hudson, lit by Verity Hampson, with a striking score composition by Iota, that does much in keeping the night from becoming too grim. The Sound Design is by Tegan Nicholls.

KING OF PIGS, is a welcome and challenging night in the theatre, beautifully acted by all, notably, Ms Scott-Lynch and especially, Kire Tosevski.

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