If we were to choose the super hero of Melbourne theatre companies, Back to Back Theatre would have to get the cape and Lycra onsie as one of Australia’s most globally known and respected companies who stand by their manifesto to “create theatre to challenge the gods”.
Following acclaimed stunners like Ganesh Versus the Third Reich, Food Court and Small Metal Objects, their new work, Super Discount, opens at Malthouse Theatre in mid-November, after recently finishing a Sydney season (review).
In Super Discount, a company member has written a super hero character and the other members – joined by actor David Woods, who was in Ganesh – each want to audition for the role.
Formed in Geelong on 1987, Back to Back are the only local professional company with a full-time ensemble of five actors: Mark Deans, Simon Laherty, Scott Price, Sarah Mainwaring and Brian Tilley.
They have won a swag of Green Room, Helpmann and Age Critic awards; been invited to festivals all over the world; toured to 49 cities across the globe, in the last five years alone; collaborated with many companies and communities; and in 2012 they won the Australian Disability Enterprises Excellence Award for the significant contribution the company has made in improving the lives of people with disability.
Driven by a their core of actors, who are perceived to have intellectual disabilities, the ensemble state, “Some of us identify with being outsiders. Some of us don’t. We wonder: what would we be outside of? We give everything and everyone a go. We hope you will feel intoxicated by our shows, that our shows will entertain you, that our shows will make you question things.”
A Back to Back show begins with and never ends questioning the audience and their perceptions.
Directed by company director Bruce Gladwin and devised by the company, Super Discount sets out to explore ideas of heroism, good and evil, and responsibility. All while hopefully revealing our own super, ordinary and flawed abilities.
Gladwin says, “We aim to challenge and enrich the audience, to liberate from conditioned response and from the familiar. We aim to transform experience, to go beyond what is known.”
Super Discount runs from 13 October to 1 December at the Merlyn Theatre at the Malthouse. Book here, because this company’s shows sell out.