En­gag­ing via ab­surd

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - PLAY -

lim­its will be ex­plored when the ab­sur­dist theatre piece The Zoo plays a short sea­son at The Arts Cen­tre Gold Coast next week. Pulitzer Prizewin­ning play­wright Ed­ward Al­bee’s show takes a look through a mi­cro­scope at the di­vid­ing lines be­tween so­cial classes, ask­ing the hard ques­tions about hu­man con­nec­tiv­ity, love and per­sonal boundaries. The one-act play fol­lows two char­ac­ters, Peter and Jerry, who meet on a park bench. Peter is a mid­dle-class pub­lish­ing ex­ec­u­tive, played by Hay­den Jones, and Jerry is an iso­lated and dis­heart­ened man, played by Luke Townson. Jerry is des­per­ate to have a mean­ing­ful con­ver­sa­tion with an­other hu­man be­ing and in­trudes on Peter by forc­ing him to lis­ten to his sto­ries. ‘‘The satir­i­cal piece is not a com­edy but an ab­sur­dist per­for­mance based on a 1954 story set in New York,’’ says Townson. ‘‘Peo­ple would come out of in­sti­tu­tions and there would be no half­way house to re­ha­bil­i­tate them so they would live in Cen­tral Park. It ex­plores the re­la­tion­ships and is a won­der­ful ob­ser­va­tion on life and what peo­ple value. It’s a so­cial ob­ser­va­tion on class, gen­der and sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion which are some­times taboo is­sues but they are ex­plored in depth and unashamedly.’’ Townson started work­ing on this per­for­mance last year when he played Peter but has adapted the per­for­mance to re­flect Aus­tralian life. ‘‘I’ve set it in Mos­man, Syd­ney, and it ref­er­ences Pitt St and El­iz­a­beth St and places around there,’’ he says. ‘‘It trans­lates very eas­ily to the Aussie cul­ture as far as so­cial class and de­mo­graph­ics are con­cerned. You re­ally do go through life in a big city and never en­gage with any­one at all, you al­ways have ‘bus face’ on – never want­ing some­one to sit next to you, or en­gage you. It just makes you think about how we in­ter­act with other hu­mans and our need for so­cial in­ter­ac­tion.’’

plays The Arts Cen­tre Gold Coast from Wed­nes­day to May 19.

Luke Townson stars in

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