9 April 2010

Ich Bin Faust at the Courtyard Theatre

| johnboy
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[First filed: Apr 7, 2010 @ 11:22]

Scene from Ich Bin Faust
[Photo by ‘Pling Plex]

When attending the opening night of locally written and produced theatre there is always a sense of slight, well, unease.

Will this be a conceptual train wreck (with the music up too loud) that seemed like a good idea to the cast and author when they were stoned at 4am?

The opening sequences of Ich Bin Faust last night caused a few hearts in the audience to sink thinking we were going to get a series of adolescent pseudo-scientific expositions on the nature of reality which seemed profound in the immediate aftermath of raiding dad’s booze cabinet but don’t have much bearing on the real world.

And then BANG, like a fist to the face, we’re into the beautifully rendered drama and difficulties of real life.

This is a play that asks a lot of questions of the audience. Big, difficult questions. About our lives, and about what we’re willing to give up to get what we really want.

With a title invoking Faust it is, of course, about deals with the devil. But then it asks us what a devil really is? Especially poignant is one guise of a devil asking what the hell she’s really getting for all the hard work.

Big concepts over-arch. Yet it’s rooted firmly in young people trying to find their way into adult life.

The cast is largely drawn from the Daramalan Theatre Company, in association with Shadow House PITS. (When performing a play about young people making the transition to adulthood it’s no bad thing to have actors who are actually in their late teens).

But fear not rabid atheists there is plenty in here for you too, there are reasons this isn’t being performed on school grounds.

One of the many overarching themes of Ich Bin Faust is the spectrum between rigid belief and self-actualised atheism (the Ich Bin, or I Am).

Writer and Director Joe Woodward is a very, very clever writer.

The performances are solid throughout. But the standouts, for mine, are Lucy Matthews as Jennifer, Ashleigh Walker as Adriana, Braiden Dunn as Eddie, and Jaclyn Hooper as Ms Gray.

Also special mention should be made to the delicate composition of RiotACT favourite Konrad Lenz, and the clever (nigh on subliminal) digital art design of Jo Howard.

Perhaps the most clever things about the whole business is the third take on the title. A Kennedy-esque cry of I am Faust, we are all Faust. Every day we’re making deals with devils and hoping we’ve checked the fine print.

If you like your drama wordy and crammed with high concepts, yet applicable to the world we all live in, then I recommend hitting the Canberra Theatre website and getting along yourself.

It’s on every night at 8pm up to and including this Saturday.

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