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BWW REVIEW: Guest Reviewer Kym Vaitiekus Shares His Thoughts On GREEN PARK

GREEN PARK

BWW REVIEW: Guest Reviewer Kym Vaitiekus Shares His Thoughts On GREEN PARK

Saturday 6th February 2021, 7.15pm , Green Park

Director Declan Greene presents Elias Jamieson Brown's new work as part of the 2021 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras

Green Park is the place, the venue and the Play where two men meet for the first time after chatting online. The means of connection is Grindr, the app for men who have sex with men.

Warren (Steve Le Marquand) and Edden (Joseph Althouse) arrive at this encounter, in an inner city park with their wants, their desires, their expectations and with their individual histories.

They traverse the challenges of what their profiles have promised, if their sexual intentions match, are they truthful and the clashing of their individual perspectives about gay life.

Warren is suspicious of Eddens's party boy outfit. Is he wired? Does he have an STI? Is he a match?

Edden wonders if Warren is the man to dominant him. Is he gay gay or straight gay. Edden wants less talk and more action.

The tensions build and dip as the two discover that their possible objects of desire have other aspects to bring to the table.

Warren questions the recency of Edden's photos. Edden wants to go to the local sauna while Warren prefers the privacy of his hotel. They negotiate what may happen in the bedroom, domination or chill and relax . They discuss the gay history of the local area and they talk of their different ways of negotiating 'gay' life.

BWW REVIEW: Guest Reviewer Kym Vaitiekus Shares His Thoughts On GREEN PARK

The location is Green Park, and so is the venue for this performance. The audience is asked to stand or sit, sparingly, in front of a park bench. We are given headphones to hear the dialogue and the superb soundscape by David Bergman.

The headsets allow the audience to hear the conversations, the breathing, the movements. This device creates a very intimate encounter of the performance. Quite a difference to the usual theatre event. The headphones focus the audio and anchor you into your own world. The detailed sound of the actors draws one into the privacy and closeness of their characters.

This device suits the solo journeys portrayed and gives the audience a personal experience of the Play. Bergman's soundscape beautifully adds to the audience's engagement and to the emotions presented.

Warren and Edden explore many aspects of their rendezvous. They negotiate sex for payment, getting high, having sex in public, becoming an instant counsellor, being discrete and closeted and having anxiety and disassociation.

There were times, in the context of the various scenarios, it seems one or the other would just leave and move on. As these characters stay through a variety of situations, they explore the world of online meet ups. They stay to work things out, to have a connection, to fulfill a goal. They have only just met but they interact like there is some level of commitment or responsibility.

BWW REVIEW: Guest Reviewer Kym Vaitiekus Shares His Thoughts On GREEN PARK

Having the various scenarios played out by one couple is a testament to the superb performances of Althouse and Le Marquand. Edden at one point has almost collapsed from sniffing gas and then soon after is counselling Warren through trauma. Logically this is unbelievable, but the performances are so grounded that they thoroughly engage you on this journey.

Althouse's Edden wonderfully and expertly portrays the young vibrant man that enjoys life with verve, energy, confidence and trepidation. Le Marquand's Warren has depth and conviction with a compelling and absolute performance. The only thing that would make one think that we didn't stumble across random men in the park and not actors, is that we have headphones on and are at ticketed event.

Maybe the audience should be left to wander the park to discover the men's encounter rather than asked to sit and wait for the show to begin. The piece ends like a real-life event as the characters just wonder off, clearly transformed and in self-reflection. They stroll away reminding us of the sometimes-solitary lives we lead.

BWW REVIEW: Guest Reviewer Kym Vaitiekus Shares His Thoughts On GREEN PARK

Director Declan Greene has expertly bought Elias Jamieson Brown's layered work to life. Greene's choices empower Brown's explorative work with gusto.

Encounter Green Park if you can, you will discover a new Australian work that explores the many layers of an unseen world, performed outside the walls of a traditional theatre. In the real world. A contemporary piece that should not be missed.

Production Images (Brett Boardman)


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