X-Press Magazine, January 31st, 2002

From X-Press Magazine, Issue #781, 31-Jan-02

collective thought

From the team that brought you I Might be Edgar Allan Poe, comes Emerging From the Collective Unconscious, a series of five short plays by the members of Collective Unconscious, a local theatre group. Originally performed at the Blue Room in August last year, the second incarnation brings with it fresh faces, a new crop of directors, dramatic script revisions and a revitalised set.

Theatre goers are launched into the experience with the jocular Chastity, an hilarious take on the timeless boy - meets - girl scenario. Written by David Hayward and performed by Jayson Dimbylow and Iris Lavell, Chastity explores a seeming cacophony of sexual aberrations. Lavell's character, Doris, is a former phone sex worker, whilst her counterpart, Rock (played by Dimbylow) houses more sexual repressions than the Vatican. After an awkward introduction, their conversation takes a bizarre turn, which sees Doris (who also happens to be a self-confessed narratophiliac), torturing Rock with her impressive knowledge of sexual deviance. Convinced that Doris is possessed. Rock buckles under the strain of endless innuendo and his own unfortunate sexual hangups. Nicely developed and performed.

Nice Eyes, another piece written (and this time performed) by David Hayward, is a fragmented collection of anecdotes, observations and musings, held tenuously together by the death of the character's grandfather. The script is rhythmic and interesting, and the unnamed character conveys an endearing honesty and childlike innocence. With seemingly endless, random thoughts punctuated with "have you ever wondered?" 'statements', it's impossible not to connect with some, if not all of the dialogue. It's rare for a thirty minute monologue to escape self indulgent meanderings, but Nice Eyes manages to, with its clever blend of humour and benevolence in a time of grief.

Possibilities is yet another monologue that interrogates the basic "what if ?" premise. Performed for the first time. Possibilities presents a character contemplating the infinite 'possibilities' awaiting them in the personal ads. Written and performed by Geraldine Smith, Possibilities sees its protagonist fantasising about the intricate and strangely enchanting circumstances encircling the placement of such an ad. Smith's familiarity with the script 'gives the play the sincerity and integrity it deserves.

The fourth installment, Holding My Breath, explores the ineffable (and some may say inescapable) friction point between the sexes, especially those in a long term relationship. Tina Jack (who also happens to be the writer) and Eddie Stowes work extremely well together as the arguing couple. Feeling somewhat suffocated by her predicament. Jack's character longs for physical and emotional stimulation, which she is no longer receiving from her husband. She can no longer see him as anything else but a modern day caveman. He just wants to protect her. The overlapping monologues in the middle of the play can at times be tedious, but do emphasise the intimate, yet hurtful nature of their marriage. There is no obvious happy ending to the drama, leaving the audience to consider the outcome, and perhaps contemplate purchasing a copy of Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus to fill in the missing gaps.

The night finished with Fudge, a comical piece written by Darren Day and performed by David Campbell and Dawn Sheridan. Set inside the transient confines of a train carriage, Fudge is carried by the totally shameless female lead (Sheridan) who takes a shine to a reserved young male passenger (Campbell). To her, fudge is the most orgasmic thing on earth, and as she noisily chomps and slurps her way through her bag of lollies, she forces her way into a conversation with him. Desperately wanting to be alone, Campbell's character eventually submits to her zany, sugar-induced silliness. This irreverent foray into the sugar coated world of lust and affection (be it edible or otherwise) is a suitable climax to the evening's entertainment. What better place to leave a psycho-babble filled journey than at the beginning of an impending sexual encounter.

Delivered with passion and honesty from a cast who obviously love what they're doing, Emerging is both entertaining and thought provoking. Emerging is being performed at the Subiaco Theatre Centre studio, season continues until February 2, tickets available through BOCS (08)94841133.