These kids are onto something.
The Cutting Room Floor (TCRF) presented its second Home Open this weekend (the first was back in June), and it was a fantastic success. Home Open is TCRF’s (so far) monthly showcase of young writers, actors and directors, which takes place in a secret residential location. This month, the theme around which the evening’s works were centered was “Change.” Six 10-minute pieces were presented over the space of two hours, to three groups of twenty audience members that moved from room to room. Sound complicated? It wasn’t.
When you collect your ticket at the door, you’re handed a program with a leaflet inside that tells you which group you’re in, tells you the order in which you’ll be seeing the pieces, and the rooms you’ll be going to. Before the show began, the hosts also made a brief announcement to explain the process, presumably for those who were less inclined to study their programs and more inclined to chat with friends or fellow uni classmates, or partake in the generous spread of nibbles laid out in the lounge room. Their main piece of advice to us was, “Just stick with your group!”
So we were corralled into the first room, a young lady’s bedroom, and told to squeeze in as best we could, so we piled in and sat on the floor like little school kids. The bed was the main acting area, and the bedroom door provided entry and exit for one or two of the actors. It was along these lines that the evening went, us squeezing ourselves into one side of a bedroom (or the kitchen), while the actors delivered their performances on the other. Now, this might sound like a fine way to spend an evening if you’re a uni student, but not so much if you’re a retiree on a pension or a stockbroker with a city apartment, but that would be a misapprehension. We have to examine what’s happening with this event, and the creative stakes that are involved.
This is a culture lab in action. Seeds are being sown. Some of the pieces are stronger than others, but make no mistake, they’re all worthy of examination, are all entertaining; they present interesting themes, action, dialogue, and relationships, and are all au courant. This theatre house party is full of zeitgeist, and is probably a pretty good predictor of what’s to come for theatre in this city (and probably in other cities too, since so many young Perth artists make the pilgrimage to Melbourne or Sydney at some point in their budding careers).
I’ll just briefly give a short synopsis of each piece here:
Written by Tobias Manderson-Galvin, directed by Scott Corbett
Starring Mary Soudi, Jack Walker, Joel Horwood and Zoe Hollyoak
This is a piece about consumerism and shopping and getting eaten alive by an escalator.
The Crack in the Ceiling
Written by Daniel Kershaw, directed by Joel Horwood
Starring Matthew Young
This is a piece about a peculiar young man who wears a helmet because his ceiling is caving in, who enjoys tending an herb garden and falls in love with girls who work in coffee shops.
We Can Do Better
Written by Tyler-Jacob Jones, directed by Gemma Hall
Starring Tyler-Jacob Jones and Ann-Marie Biagoni
This is a piece about a couple trying to get through an impossible bucket list before they succumb to a swiftly-moving apocalyptic plague.
Written by Daniel Ayre, directed by Scott Corbett
Starring Elijah Melvin and Chloe Evangelisti
This is a piece about a young man trying to create and re-create memories with a lost young woman.
Written by Samantha Maclean, directed by Scott Corbett
Starring Verity Softly
This is a piece about a young woman who is trying to work through motherhood issues by reflecting on the behavioral habits of spiders, amongst other things, all while assembling an IKEA crib.
Sexual Dysfunction Without Wires
Written by Michael Collins
[The Broken Image Ensemble]
Starring Violette Ayad, Holly Garvey and Barney Pollock
This is a piece about a young couple trying to figure out how to have a relationship in real life, as opposed to in digital life, and/or preparing for the end of the world, while floodwaters rise.
So while yes, this is a very young crowd of creatives and audience, and yes, your grandmother or that guy sitting in the executive chair on the 37th floor of the St. George’s building might not ever attend or wish to attend one of these Home Open events, the seeds that have been sown here will probably grow into what might just become a staple in the theatre world’s diet. I’m looking forward to the next one, hopefully next month, coming to a Perth inner suburb near you.