Remember Helen Darville? Her book won the Miles Franklin in 1995, before it was discovered that she had falsely claimed Ukranian ancestry. Or James Frey’s A Million Little Pieces? Norma Khouri’s Forbidden Love? There are so many of these fake memoirs that it really could become a sub-genre of its own. Playwright, Rick Viede, was intrigued by the psychology — the thwarted desires, the twisted ambitions of the people who write these book, so he wrote A Hoax. It won the 2011 Griffin Award, and is opening tonight on La Boite’s mainstage.
A Hoax uses this sort of scenario as a platform to explore issues of race and politics, as well as cultural identity. Don’t be worried that it might be too heavy though; it has been billed as ‘hilarious’. This is a play that is careful to raise questions, rather than answer them. Do we condemn these authors? Are they just filling a market for pain and misery? Are they finding an outlet for their hitherto marginalised voice? What is truth worth? And why does truth matter?
Just the list of the cast and creatives working on this production gives one high expectations. Renee Mulder, fresh from As You Like It, is the designer, sound design by Steve Toulmin (Hamlet, Edward Gant’s Amazing Feats of Loneliness) and lighting by Jason Glenwright (Ruben Guthrie, Julius Caesar). Couple all this with a cast that includes Charles Allen, Sally McKenzie and Shari Sebbens and you know you’re in trustworthy hands.
A Hoax plays at La Boite from the 5th to the 26th of May.
More Information: www.laboite.com.au