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Kaleidoscope Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras 2016

Home > Sydney > Gay & Lesbian | Performing Arts | Theatre | Theatre Reviews
by Seafarrwide (subscribe)
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Open your Mind and Your Heart
Kaleidoscope at Mardi Gras, Kaleidoscope at Montague Basement, Omnes Photography
Kaleidoscope at Mardi Gras - Image by Omnes Photography

I recently attended the thought-provoking play Kaleidoscope at Mardi Gras. The play is in its second year and part of Sydney's Mardi Gras festival. Written by Charles O'Grady, co-directed by Finn Davis and Imogen Gardam, performed by Oliver Ayres. The play runs for just over one and half hours and is held at the intimate Kings Cross Theatre above the Kings Cross Hotel.

Kaleidoscope at Mardi Gras, Kaleidoscope Play, Kings Cross Theatre
Kings Cross Theatre - Photography by Seafarrwide

Kaleidoscope at Mardi Gras, Kaleidoscope Play, Kings Cross Theatre
Photography by Seafarrwide

Kaleidoscope is the story of a regular day in the life of Gabriel, a young adult and the emotional inner turmoil of dealing with being transgender and gay. The play maps out his daily struggle even before he steps outside his home through his one-sided conversation with his reflection.

Kaleidoscope at Mardi Gras, Kaleidoscope at Montague Basement, Omnes Photography
Oliver Ayres as Gabriel - image by Omnes Photography

The setting of the play is held in a small space centered around Gabriel's bed, clothes and mirror. Kings Cross Theatre is perfect for this type of play. The intimate setting allows you to get up close and feel every emotion projected.

Kaleidoscope at Mardi Gras, Kaleidoscope Play
Photography by Seafarrwide

The play begins with Gabriel asleep in his bed. Within seconds, he has the audience engaged with his internal monologue. Oliver as Gabriel takes the audience dramatically through a fast-paced dialogue he has with his own reflection. You begin to feel the struggle and you can't help but feel a sense of sadness and frustration for the character.

The fact I had very little knowledge of transgenders to begin with was maybe an advantage. I was completely open to the raw solo performance. I could see a human being struggling with their identity, trapped in the wrong body. I also had no idea of the trans masculine internal conflict in regard to comparisons of strength, height, size of hands and dealing with other feminine monthly issues.

Kaleidoscope at Mardi Gras, Kaleidoscope at Montague Basement, Omnes Photography
Kaleidoscope at Mardi Gras - Image by Omnes Photography

Oliver Ayres delivery is dramatic and powerful. You can clearly hear and understand every word of his eloquently projected oration. His presentation of what if feels like to be a gay trans man is raw, at times bringing tears to my eyes. His human expression of all the discomfort, drama and confusion not only felt by a trans but felt by their family and friends was intense. There are moments throughout the play that make you laugh with Gabriel, you may even feel some of the pain he feels. Then again you may swim along merrily with some of the poetic lines added to the script to present Gabriel's ideas of masculinity, not always conforming to what some expect a standard Australian male to be. Though the play isn't a true story of an actual real individual, it highlights some of the issues of homophobia, transphobia, relationships, dysphoria, mental illness, self-harm and suicidal thoughts that are a daily hindrance to a transgender.

Kaleidoscope at Mardi Gras, Kaleidoscope at Montague Basement, Omnes Photography
Kaleidoscope at Mardi Gras - Image by Omnes Photography

I believe you will enjoy this play. You will not only be entertained but educated throughout the play. If you are a cisgender person, you may at times feel a sense of frustration with your perception of self-absorption in the character. Thinking it self-indulgent of the character to be so consumed by their presumed and actual daily persecution. These thoughts are respected but also in some ways considered elements of the patronising behaviour the play wishes to address. Gabriel plucks gently at your heart strings melting away your ignorance, reaching your compassion and understanding. As he deals with who he sees reflected back at him, he becomes so much more than what the mirror presents.

I have many different friends from all levels of society and sexuality, many gay friends, even my own sister is gay. I had never met or thought much about transgender and what issues and challenges they face on a daily basis. This play will make you think twice about your judgement of transgender people. You will in future consider the impact of the expectations that some members of society has on what are appropriate roles for the sex people are born with.

Kaleidoscope celebrates the bravery of so many trans, non-binary, and gender diverse individuals. Vibrant, funny, concise, this is a discussion of identity captured in one talkative, well-dressed man.

Writer and Co-Director Charles O'Grady along with Co-Director Finn Davis have put together a dramatic play with a swift pace that captures your attention throughout the almost two-hour sole performance of Gabriel by Oliver Ayres. There was a clear focus on the storyline and messages they wished to convey. Additionally, the lighting and sound designed by Saro Lusty-Cavallari co-director and co-founder of Montague Basement is ideal and very effective in creating the intimate mood of the play.

A wonderful production by Imogen Gardam Associate Producer and co-founder of Montague Basement. Her fame stems from the production of Procne & Tereus (2014) and All about Medea (2015) at PACT Theatre. She has also worked with the Sydney University Dramatic Society serving as President and celebrated its 125th anniversary.

Charles O'Grady is a 21yr old playwright, director, poet and journalist from Sydney. Having written and devised several theatrical works including Dinner and a Show (SUDS Festival of Australian Student Theatre 2015 with Nicola Cayless). Co-devised and written works including Little Eggs, Emergence, After Dark, Rosie, Ruth & Susan (Smoking Gum 2015).

Kaleidoscope at Mardi Gras, Kaleidoscope Play,

Written by Charles O'Grady
Co-Directed by Finn Davis and Charles O'Grady
Produced by Imogen Gardam
Design by Saro Lusty-Cavallari
Art by Hannah Cox

22 February until 4 March
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday & Saturday 7.00pm
Concession: $16.67
General: $21.89

Click here to purchase tickets.

For more information click here to go to Montague Basement website.
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*Seafarrwide was invited as a guest
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Why? Thought Provoking Play on Transgender
When: 22 February until 4 March (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday & Saturday) 7.00pm
Phone: Contact via website
Where: KXT Kings Cross Theatre,
Cost: Concession: $16.67 General: $21.89
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