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A Play by Angus Cameron and Four Letter Word Theatre
Chiasmus, play, theatre, abortion, castration
The talent behind Chiasmus -eggs in mouths

"I want an abortion," says the curly-haired, pregnant lesbian to her lover.

I am watching the sixth rehearsal of Chiasmus, a no-holds-barred play featuring castration, abortion and poison, among other things. It all started about a year ago when Gippsland-born theatre enthusiast, writer and director Angus Cameron thought up the first line.

"I'm sick of boring theatre. Most plays feature a character who goes through a lot of hardship. And then the audience is expected to feel sympathy. I'm like, 'This is just boring!' I thought, what is a sentence that is going to thrust the audience right into the middle of an issue, make them ask questions? And I thought of, 'I want an abortion'."

The hyperactive Angus, a bespectacled bloke in a red plaid shirt and blue jeans, is munching on a slice of pizza, a much-needed boost after the 3-hour rehearsal. I had the privilege of popping into Four Letter Word Theatre, a 2-storey office and rehearsal space in North Melbourne, and watching Angus make suggestions, jump up from his chair and interrupt the actors with:

"You'll have to blood your trousers."

"I'd rather not get his boxers dirty."

"No, say it, like, "You HYPOCRITE!"" (complete with hand gestures)

"I hate that line. Let's change it. I don't know why I put it in in the first place."

"I'm getting carried away again," which he said about three times.

Sean Paisley Collins, The Death of Peter Pan, Chiasmus
'The Man', Sean Paisley Collins (photo by Marc Bradshaw) in a photo shoot for The Death of Peter Pan

What does Chiasmus mean? One of the more sensible definitions I have found is, 'The second half of an expression is balanced against the first, with the part reversed.'

A famous example is John F. Kennedy's line, "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country." According to Angus, the play sets up an order, then reverses it.

As I watched the actors rehearse (yell, whimper, pretend to crush eggs in the air), I thought of how fortunate Australians are to be able to indulge in such interesting material. I recalled how, in my native country, Malaysia, much controversy was generated when The Vagina Monologues was made into a play.

But this is Australia, a liberated, first-world country. Can Australians be shocked and entertained or have they seen it all?

Fittingly, Chiasmus is the first original development of Four Letter Word Theatre, a theatre company whose motto is 'Confronting Entertainment.' Obsessed with offering 'quality, thought-provoking and affecting theatre', Four Letter Word Theatre racked up nominations and awards in the Victorian Guild Musical Theatre Awards 2011 for its first musical, NINE, in 2011.

Chiasmus will be playing from 25th to 30th June 2013 (night shows) in the Collingwood Underground Carpark, 44 Harmsworth Street, Collingwood.

As you can imagine, watching the rehearsal has made me want to go and watch it. Surely the thought of castration, abortion, poison and a pregnant lesbian makes you curious too? Also, watch out for upcoming young actor Sean Paisley Collins in Chiasmus. The exuberant, skinny, pale-faced actor with ebony-black hair last played Roger Senhouse in The Death of Peter Pan in Chapel off Chapel. In Chiasmus, Sean will be playing 'The Man', a mysterious and devious character only recently added and being refined as we speak. It's my favourite character in Chiasmus, like the Joker in The Dark Knight.

Tickets cost AUD$15 per person, or AUD$10 if a group booking is done. To get tickets, please email with your name, what night you prefer and the number of tickets. For more information, call Corey Reynolds on 0403 690 133.

PS: Four Letter Word Theatre will build on the momentum of Chiasmus with The Wild Party, to be played from 31st July to 3rd August 2013.
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Why? Castration, abortion and poison - theatre at its explosive best
When: 25th June 2013 - 30th June 2013
Phone: 0403 690 133
Where: 44 Harmsworth Street, Collingwood
Cost: AUD$15, or AUD$10 (group bookings)
Your Comment
Yes, I'm a little curious ;) Sounds fun
by Katy Holliday (score: 3|1133) 2653 days ago
Yes, and in a carpark too!
by Former Writer (score: 2|102) 2653 days ago
There's tonnes of info
by somew (score: 0|3) 2653 days ago
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