shows: Breakup For­est an ex­er­cise in mod­ern ro­mance ..

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - PLAY -

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.

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