shows: Breakup Forest an exercise in modern romance ..
STEVE Pirie believes losing love is a universal experience everyone takes something different from.
The Mixtape Theatre Collective artistic director, originally from Toowoomba, but now based in Brisbane, is the brains behind quirky theatre show Escape From the Breakup Forest.
While he says the production’s humorous storyline of heartbreak isn’t about himself – ‘‘my life isn’t that theatrical’’ – Pirie says there are parts of it which tend to resonate strongly with people for different reasons.
Escape From the Breakup Forest follows the story of a young man who is dealing with his first heartbreak, inflicted by a girlfriend of five years.
‘‘She ends the relationship without saying why, so he is left with no closure, which brings him to the Breakup Forest – this magical place where you can only leave once you are able to move on from the past,’’ Pirie says.
‘‘Lucky, he’s not alone – he has a hand puppet named Curly to act as his spirit guide. From there, the two venture through a number of challenges and mysteries as they try to piece together the past and move on.’’
Pirie wrote and designed the show and also stars in it alongside Dan Stewart and Ell Sachs.
‘‘It’s an interesting process, being a performer in your own work. Because the story has been with me for so long, there are certain things in my writer’s mind that doesn’t translate into the performer’s,’’ Pirie says.
Escape From the Breakup Forest premiered in Toowoomba last year before a season at the Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts in Brisbane, in March.
‘‘Without giving away too much about the show, it’s like taking the sketches of your high school books and throwing them on to a stage. For 80 minutes, the audience will share the familiar journey of healing from a relationship breakdown, but in a way that they have never seen,’’ Pirie says. Escape From the Breakup Forest, he says, expresses the pure, unapologetic joy of storytelling using the moments of magic that can only be found in live performance. ‘‘It is a show for the young lovers and old romantics,’’ he says. ‘‘(It) has been compared to shows like Adventure Time and The Mighty Boosh, so if you like humour that’s a little left of centre and you can laugh at yourself, then it’s the perfect show for you.
‘‘There’s a bit of salty language though, so if you come with that in mind, you’ll have a great time.’’
Escape From the Breakup Forest plays The Space, at The Arts Centre Gold Coast, tonight until Saturday at 7.30pm. Tickets are $27.
– ROSE SADLEIR
Escape From the Breakup Forest’s Dan Stewart and Steve Pirie.