The World Theatre Festival (WTF) 2011, playing at the Brisbane Powerhouse from 9 – 20 Feb, is a showcase of new and experimental works from independent companies around the globe. The aim of the festival is to engage new audiences and provoke discussion about WTF? is theatre through performance, forums and master classes.
Presented by: Kassys (Netherlands)Venue: Brisbane Powerhouse (Brisbane) Review date: Saturday, February 12, 2011 The World Theatre Festival (WTF) 2011, playing at the Brisbane Powerhouse from 9 – 20 Feb, is a showcase of new and experimental works from independent companies around the globe. The aim of the festival is to engage new audiences and provoke discussion about WTF? is theatre through performance, forums and master classes. Good Cop Bad Cop, produced by Kassys (Netherlands), provides a commentary on reality TV and exploitation for the sake of entertainment. Using a mix of live performance (interesting with no spoken words) and projected ‘Big Brother’ type diary rooms and video interviews, the show points out the anxieties in human relationships and interactions which lead to the sensationalisation of a person’s internal struggles into the dramatised over-reactions of reality TV.
The actors/devisers (Liesbeth Gritter, Esther Snelder, Ton Heijligers, Mette van der Sijs and Adriaan Beukema) were already stationed as we walked into the theatre. At first I thought I had walked into an IKEA store, with the set looking like a display setting of a living room. The first scene was like an internal monologue, full of seemingly meaningless movement yet pointedly meaningful in execution. I waited to see which character would break the silence. And the longer you wait for these things, the more odd it would seem when the silence was broken. The only interjections of silence were the video projections, sometimes for only one sentence at a time. The sentence spoken seemed so trivial that it was funny. We as an audience, laughed at its oddity. As the video interjections went on however, they did increase in length and depth. But what I found puzzling, were the three characters acted with very cat and dog like mannerisms. So then it occurred to me that someone’s pets had been locked in the IKEA store with the CCTV cameras rolling. I was trying to piece together in my mind what this all meant? The title Good Cop Bad Cop gave me no indication that it was about 3 lost pets in IKEA. I’m not sure whether it was intentionally a piece of absurdist theatre or whether there just wasn’t enough subtance ontop of the sub-text.And as the mandate of the WTF Festival is to pose the question – WTF is theatre? Perhaps they also missed out an important word… WTF is GOOD theatre? Don’t get me wrong, the actor’s were fantastic in their characterisation and commitment. And it was akwardly funny. It was interesting but not enlightening. It commented but did not delve. It posed a lot of questions and I guess that is good for what the festival is about, but it failed to provide any answers that gave me a sense of fulfillment or resolution. Having said that, I do have to admit that I’m not a fan of absurdist theatre so I’m probably not the audience that the piece was aimed at. It was obviously picked as part of the program for a reason and it has provoked a lot of thought. I also understand that just because theatre can’t be everything to everyone doesn’t mean it wasn’t successful in fulfilling the WTF Festival mandate.