Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A Hoax: Fascinating Fake or Factious Fiction?

A Little White Lie.

A Hoax: Stars Shari Sebbens, Glenn Hazeldine, Sally McKenzie, Charles Allen. Directed by Lee Lewis. La Boite. Runs till May 26.
The writing genre known as Misery Memoirs or Inspirational Lit - depending on how sensitive your cynicism gauge – has spawned its own fake sub-culture.

For the uninitiated, or unconcerned, this is the area of biography which allows the troubled individual to seek solace, and mass media therapy, through the lucrative medium of a best seller.

There’s been heaps of genuine storytelling stories successes, where early suffering has been expunged through letting it all hang out in colourful literary form.

However, award-winning Australian’s playwright Rick Viede’s second major work, A Hoax, which had its world premiere at Brisbane’s La Boite last week, deals with the even darker side of this public self-analysis.

A Hoax, as the play’s title suggests, takes a fictional microscopic view of fact fakery, through the story of young indigenous girl recruited to be a ‘classic victim’ of hideous child abuse.

The idea is that naïve Miri Smith becomes the ‘real-life’ author Currah (Shari Sebbens), while white social worker and genuine author, Anthony ‘Ant’ Dooley (Glenn Hazeldine), stands behind the façade of this dirty little secret.

Dooley, who is such an insignificant character he can’t get anyone to use his nickname-moniker Ant, has penned Nobody’s Girl, but the world is not to know that significant guilty fact.

The other two characters in the play, as we fellow Currah’s remarkable transformation, are the over-the-top, champagne swilling, self-seeking agent Ronnie Lowe (Sally McKenzie) and her camp and rather sometimes scary assistant Tyrelle Parks (Charlie Allen).

The play, which has been brilliantly written and plotted, moves between high farce and frightening overtones of threatening behaviour, but still managed to polarise opinion within the Brisbane theatre community.

While I’ll be reviewing A Hoax on Brisbane’s 612ABC on Friday (May 18) with Spencer Howson, I thought today I’d publish links to two very different Brisbane views of the production.

The reviews, at the bottom of this story, from Absolute Theatre’s Eric Scott and David Burton in the Greenroom, both make entertaining reading and an engaging contrast.

Being a great believer in cultural democracy, I love Vive la Difference in critical surfing. I believe it’s the differences between things which truly defines them.

And my view?

I had a great night going on this bewildering journey, following a quartet of colourful and sometimes over-the-top characters, although at times it all seemed a little confusing.

That’s not so much fence sitting as simply acknowledging that art, like life, is never black and white, and even the most brilliant diamonds are flawed.

Incidentally, this already award-winning play is a joint production with the Griffin Theatre Company and will be opening at the Stables Theatre July 20.

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