The exciting thing about Money Shots – Sydney Theatre Company’s latest showcase of emerging theatremakers – is the glimpse of the future of Australian theatre.
Presented by: Sydney Theatre Company Next Stage 2011Venue: Sydney Theatre Wednesday, 05 October 2011
The exciting thing about Money Shots – Sydney Theatre Company’s latest showcase of emerging theatremakers – is the glimpse of the future of Australian theatre. Within the five fifteen-minute plays on display the audience is treated to deft and unflinching explorations of comedy and tragedy both; the future of theatre, according to Money Shots, is honest, raw, and challenging. And in good theatre, you should be challenged.
Based on the broad theme of money, these five plays examine financial crisis from the most personal levels possible: they take a concept, chaotic and ominous and intangible, and turn it into something human. Once you humanise something, it becomes very real, and as financial strife seeps into each one of these works, a palpable sense of empathy emerges. For the troubled finance worker and his family. For the daughter who works to supplement her mother’s income. For the disabled awaiting compensation. For the bankrupt. Director Sarah Giles has woven together five very different studies to create a complete whole, unifying these works with a careful hand.
Beginning with Rita Kalnejas’ How to Get Very Clean, and ending with the broadly entertaining Zoe Pepper work The Fiddler’s Coin, these short plays – short enough to pack a punch – bookend with genuine, laugh-out-loud humour. The beauty of the humour, especially in the former, in which the death of a mother and employer is the driving narrative device, and the latter, which uses the great setting of a family wedding to backdrop its story, is that it’s interlaced with shock, and discomfort, and tension. It’s the human condition; it’s the full package. Actor Julia Ohannessian manages to be hilarious and vulnerable both in turns, and this ease of performing is a shared trait with all performers – who are all part of The Residents, Sydney Theatre Company’s permanent ensemble of performers. Sophie Ross as a frustrated fiancé is both delicate and superbly angry in Duncan Graham’s No Exit From The Roof. Richard Pyros and Cameron Goodall command attention with presence alone.
Most notable, however, are the efforts of Zindzi Okenyo and Tahki Saul (Particularly in the affecting, heartfelt The Arcade, by Tahli Corin). Both are broadly comic and astonishingly emotionally precise, managing to run the gamut of age, type, and feeling without a single hint of strain; they are equally effortless, equally captivating.
It is invigorating to spend an evening engaging with new, gripping material, and it’s a compelling thing to watch five plays, five completely different plays, and leave feeling as though they all belonged together, creating a whole. It is an invigorating experience, and it will leave you hungering to know what happens next. To the characters, certainly. To the climate of us as people and our relationship to money, and hardship, and tragedy. But it mostly left me hungering to know what exactly these writers would choose to examine next.
Book online at sydneytheatre.com.auUntil 15 October
Richard Pyros and Sophie Ross in STC’s Money Shots
© Photo by Brett Boardman 2011