Article Title:Review: Legacy Project
Category:Performance
Author or Credit:Jay Bennie
Published on:11th February 2015 - 08:31 am
Published by:GayNZ.com
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Story ID:16430
Text:Legacy project - Year Two Part of the Auckland Pride Festival Q Theatre, February 10 - 14. In a rather overheated Loft at Q Theatre last night six short plays explored aspects of being (mostly) young and queer. Legacy Project is in its second year of collecting and shaping these plays, all based on original submissions by lgbti writers. From boys in bondage to straight best friends to communication vacuums, aspects of glbti lives and relationships were explored, largely successfully and with some impressive skills on display. First up, Act of Submission (written by Nathan Joe and directed by Joanna Craig) was a simple, short and pithy piece in which one man's involvement in bondage to please his partner has an unexpected outcome. All successful sex involves the emotional as well as the physical and activities such as bondage and other forms of 'leather sex' involve exposing the psyche to an extent which can be both frightening and exhilarating at the same instant. But they can also expose deeper personal truths and Act of Submission very neatly explored this very serious game of "emotional chicken" rather well. One More Day (written by Jordan Keyzer and directed by Borni Te Rongopai Tukiwaho) was a less successful piece, lengthy and divided into two very different pieces and left hanging at the end. A high school age gay boy decides he's ready to come out, tomorrow, while his probably lesbian best friend feels this will expose her unsure sexuality to prying eyes before she is ready. Complex issues of timing and friendship are explored by the kids and then the boy's parents stumble through their own desire to support their son who hasn't come out to them yet. When it seemed clear that the boy would come out with one day's notice and that the best friend would likely become collateral damage we empathised with her and realised he was a bit of an ass. What we were to make of the parents was less clear and this was the essential problem with this piece. The most difficult piece of the night, for performers and audience alike, was Negative Space (written by Cole Meyers and directed by Luke Thornborough). Having trans characters soundlessly 'speak' their lines in order to highlight the communication breakdown which can so easily occur when one person is struggling to understand their lives and where they are heading and the other has little or no personal or societal framework to draw on was awkward and frustrating, clumsy and alienating. The theatrical artifice got in the way of the message making it hard to keep connected with the characters and their situations. Which of course was exactly what we should have been experiencing. Difficult, challenging but in the end raw and rewarding. Just one quibble, when there are no words physical mannerisms become more important, therefore they need to remain strong but subtle and certainly should eschew mirrored movements where both hands work in reflected unison. Top and Tail (written by Bruce Brown and directed by Sarah Jansen) was just so cool... two male teenage best mates on a sleepover after an extended night of gaming, work their way through the complexities of straight friend and probably gay friend. Crisply written and performed, direction that was minimalist and sure-handed, everything came together beautifully. We empathised with these kids, sympathised with their dilemma and hoped it would all work out well. As a story of friendship tested and perhaps strengthened Top and Tail was a gem. In A Lovestory (written by Todd Waters and directed by Jesse Hilford) two men - and a sweetly tacky bunch of flowers - explore what happens when two partners' emotional growth each follow different schedules. One of the great pitfalls of any developing relationship, this can lead to misunderstandings, unfortunate decisions and even more unfortunate outcomes, exactly what has happened to these young men. Will they or won't they overcome the tribulations of a badly-handled 'separation'? Right 'till the end we don't know, it's too close and complex to call, but we hang on every moment and that's the sign of, in particular, very good writing. The final offering last night was Queer Support (written by Joni Nelson and directed by Lisa Fothergill) and it was just the kind of refreshing, over the top piece needed to send us out into the night with a lightened step. Gay community centres everywhere have for decades offered much-needed support and resources, but too often in idiosyncratic ways which more reflect the needs or personalities of those who drive them on a day to day basis than of those enquiring souls who slip in through the pink triangle/rainbow stickered doors. Queer Support is a farce which beautifully skewers this sacred cow of glbti communities and heaves it on the barbie, guts and all. Sharp, fearless, farcical and funny. And last night it was a way much better experience than its preview outing at Saturday night's Gala kick-off of Pride. Whilst patchy, the acting in Legacy Project last night was overall of a good standard and several times quite remarkable. The technicals and settings were simple but effective, the writing generally spot on. But if there was a star of the night it was the direction. In each play there was a sense of a sure hand behind the construction and presentation of the piece. On the full-time scoreboard... writing: 7.5 out of 10, acting 8 out of 10, direction 9 out of 10. - Jay Bennie Jay Bennie - 11th February 2015
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