Count­ing the cost of spend­ing

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Stage - Sara Fitz­patrick

PERTH theatre-maker Jef­frey Jay Fowler wants you to scru­ti­nise your spend­ing.

Not just the money you fork out but the time, ef­fort and emo­tion you out­lay as well.

“As an artist, I’m con­stantly think­ing ‘is what I’m do­ing worth it?’,” he said.

“With my new play, Price Tag, I was think­ing ‘how do I know if I’m spend­ing my life on the right things?’ and recog­nis­ing that pay­ment isn’t just fi­nan­cial.

“We pay in time, we pay in love and con­sid­er­a­tion. If you are in a re­la­tion­ship, you are mak­ing an in­vest­ment in that re­la­tion­ship.

“You are pay­ing for every­thing you do and of­ten that is very re­ward­ing and some­times it isn’t.”

Price Tag – show­ing at Fringe World Fes­ti­val – is the first play Fowler has writ­ten and di­rected in four years. A com­edy with an ab­sur­dist edge, it takes place at a din­ner party where a quar­rel be­tween the rich and poor arises.

“Two cou­ples of very dif­fer­ent in­comes sit down and have a drink to­gether and as the night pro­gresses, their iden­ti­ties change in that the per­son that is priv­i­leged in the room, ran­domly, ab­surdly, ro­tates,” Fowler said.

“So, what if you sat down with friends and one had a lot more money than the oth­ers?

“You’ve got to think about how peo­ple with a lot more money act; some­times they like to pay for things, they like to be showy and or­der the most ex­pen­sive wine on the list, and that can have var­i­ous ef­fects on the peo­ple around them.

“How does the amount of money you have change your iden­tity?”

Fowler is an ac­tor, writer, di­rec­tor and Black Swan State Theatre Com­pany as­so­ciate di­rec­tor but sees him­self pri­mar­ily as an en­ter­tainer.

“I re­ally think that theatre can’t be smash­ing peo­ple in the face and telling them they are do­ing the wrong thing and look­ing at moral cul­pa­bil­ity in a world of priv­i­lege,” he said.

“I do ac­tu­ally think peo­ple pay money to be en­ter­tained and I want to hon­our that con­tract.”

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie­mu­ni­ d463999

Ac­tor/writer Jef­frey Jay Fowler’s new show Price Tag is about the di­vide be­tween rich and poor and plays for Fringe.

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