I am a writer living in Melbourne who loves to devour culture and the arts. Visit me at www.pumptheatre.com.au
The human ecosystem is breaking down. Relationships are fragile and futile, co-dependent and unreliable. The canopy of the rainforest is depleted as it can no longer rely on the ground feeders for sustenance.
There is a drought and a fire that is not burning out any time soon. What will humanity do in response to this climate change catastrophe?
They will RIOT.
RIOT by Thomas Ian Doyle
RIOT written by Thomas Ian Doyle, is set and performed in the week of the 'Spring Rebellion' climate change rallies at The MC Showroom in Prahran 8-12 October.
Gin (Marisa Matear) hooks up with Gavin (Gabrielle Reiher) at a climate change rally. She has just split with her girlfriend Janette (Emma Louise Pursey) and is questioning, power, politics and the system. She annoys her burger chain boss Kane (Benjamin Brooker) with her emotional millennial meltdowns daily and bleeding heart view of the world.
Janette deals weed. Gin steals her plants. She pretends to be a journalist and will only sleep with Gavin for answers. But he wants love. He also wants a cure. He's just been diagnosed.
Gin is also sleeping with Lola (Mazz Ryan), the waitress at the local cafe. She aspires to be an actress and also wants love. Gin cannot commit or voice feelings and turns to weed, cocaine and acid trips to numb her pain.
The casualisation of sex annoys Janette... she just wants to settle down and have babies. She's even stopped selling weed and now pays taxes. She needs to be in the system for her child to have any chance in Australia.
Climate change, cocaine and casual relationships seem symptomatic of a more systemic problem in 'The Age of Loneliness'. Everything is uncertain and disrupted. Gin is distracted and dis-eased. So is Janette and Gavin.
GAVIN (Gabrielle Reiher) & LOLA (Mazz Ryan) in 'Riot'
Is anything pure? Does logic have a role? Is this a march or a riot? A rebellion or a dance? These are some of the provocations RIOT raises.
RIOT enters into the lives of individuals and witnesses everything breaking down at the molecular level including human immunity. In this climate change catastrophe erupts questions about identity, gender diversity and orientation, polyamory and addiction. Each of the characters is questioning their reason for existence, and at the same time, how they will survive.
The performance of RIOT includes trademark nudity and explicit sex scenes, drugs and violence - not for the light-hearted or sensitive...and nothing is left to the imagination.
RIOT presents the raw frustration and examines the symptoms of a changing world - HIV, transgender, diversity, climate, mining, politics, relationships and the woes of financial dependence on the government.
The cast are professional actors and are courageous in presenting their characters with conviction and truth. There is some great stage choreography, an original soundscape composed by Benjamin Brooker, and lots of pot plants efficiently stage-managed by Janay Drury and Jenna Christie.
At times it is difficult to know what the main message of RIOT is - among all the other issues it raises. However, by the end of the play, it is obvious that each character desires love, acceptance and safety, in a world of uncertainty.