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A tasting plate of Australian voices and craftsmanship
Following their award-winning '10,000 Beers' presented at Fringe World 2014, Turquoise Theatre are back with '7 Needs', a series of short plays based on Maslow's Hierarchy of Human Needs.
The first night of '7 Needs' was sold out
The seven human needs – hunger, shelter, sex, safety, belonging, respect, and spirit – are the topic of seven 10-minute plays written by 7-On Playwrights (Donna Abela, Vanessa Bates, Hilary Bell, Noelle Janaczewska, Verity Laughton, Ned Manning and Catherine Zimdahl). Although the plays all address one of the basic human needs, at times it is difficult to tell which one it is.
The cast comprises a dozen actors from all walks of life, varied cultures and a broad age range but all are connected by their strong links to theatre. They perform the seven plays with very few props. Despite the common cast, the stories stand alone and not related to each other.
The seven directors (from L to R: David Meadows, Craig Williams, Lawrie Cullen-Tait, Susannah Thompson, Emily McLean, Phil Thomson who is not part of the directors group and has been replaced with Jessica Messenger, Sarah McKellar)
Each play was directed by a different Perth director, who selected the play that most appealed to them and were given a free rein in its interpretation.
I approached directors that are committed to their craft," said Turquoise Theatre's Artistic Director, Susannah Thompson. "It's exciting to present a tasting plate of Australian craftsmanship in a Fringe context and I think the audiences will love the variety of drama and comedy that this night will present to them."
The seven directors during a break from rehearsals
The result is seven very different works. Three of the plays are monologues featuring: a mother who is an ex-junkie (hunger), a domestic violence barrister (sex), and a Fellow of the Royal Geographic Society (safety). The other plays feature two or more actors. Belonging is cleverly portrayed by a spoilt child swapping the heads of her dolls which elicits her mother's racist comments. In the play about respect, a disabled woman pays a younger woman to take her to the Great Wall of China (featuring the very talented 11-year old Sienna Freeman as an angel). Spirit depicts an asylum seeker whose passion for life thaws the heart of a processing official. And shelter, which was my favourite, is about a mother who has just sold her lawyer daughter's investment property to pay off a gambling debt. Their argument ends with a surprise twist.
I recommend this smorgasbord of seven mini-plays – 'a tasting plate of Australian voices and craftsmanship' – written directed and acted by a talented and experienced group of local practitioners.But don't delay, this production only runs until 21 February.
Cate W was a guest of '7 Needs'. Recommended for people over 15 years.