Gruesome Playground Injuries - Queerspace Arts

Gruesome Playground Injuries - Queerspace Arts


Posted 2019-04-15 by Emma Jane Explores (Emma Caldwell)follow

Fri 12 Apr 2019 - Sun 14 Apr 2019

Queerspace Arts is a brand new indie company in Sydney focused on exploring and presenting queer content to empower minority peoples in the community. Their first production, an all-female cast version of Rajiv Joseph's Gruesome Playground Injuries, runs for an extremely blink-and-you'll-miss-it short season from 12th - 14th April in Redfern. The all-female casting of this play (traditionally performed with one male and one female cast member) is a global first and demonstrates that Queerspace Arts are prepared to go where no company has dared go before.

Playwright, Rajiv Joseph, once said about his inspiration of Gruesome Playground Injuries that he had a realisation that "you could mark the chapters of your life with injuries", an idea out of which the play's two protagonists, Doug and Kayleen were born. The play doesn't follow a traditionally linear narrative, rather focusing in on little snapshots into the friendship between these two characters as they compare scars and injuries throughout their lifetime.

The actors must traverse a wide age range for these characters, with vignettes ranging from childhood to middle age. Doug, played by Ricki Jade bounces around the stage with a boyish cheekiness, revelling in his various injuries. Kayleen is more subdued, with Laura Morris revealing glimpses of the inner turmoil and pain her character suffers. Morris, in particular, is quite relatable in her introverted, anxious state with some beautiful moments that demonstrate her handle of the craft.

With the gift of an extremely intimate space to play in, director Mackinnley Bowden is able to present a subtle and delicate take on Joseph's play. As the fabric that binds the two characters together, I would have like to have seen more from the injuries themselves, as at that proximity, the various battered and bruised states Doug and Kayleen find themselves in are less effective because they don't come across with a sense of realism. Also, whilst the characters are captured in essence, it would be nice to see more growth in them as they age throughout the piece.

Another hopefully constructive bit of feedback for this new company is on a more logistical side. Unfortunately, the production did not enforce a lock out or a managed entrance point for latecomers which meant that on a couple of occasions, the very intimate space was broken up momentarily by late audience members entering mid-scene.

All in all, this is a valiant first effort from a new production company and promises good things on the horizon. I look forward to seeing what they do next.

#theatre -reviews
!date 12/04/2019 -- 14/04/2019
215043 - 2023-06-16 07:13:30


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