Douglas has been a professional food writer since 1986. He is also an award-winning actor and director in Community Theatre and has been for many years. His blog may be found at: www.urbaneguerilla.wordpress.com
Published January 30th 2018
Because bigots are the only ones with the rights to talk
Soup is a one act play devised by Deadly Entertainment and presented at Perth Fringe World.
The play is being produced at the Supper room in the Perth Town Hall, an intimate venue well suited to the enterprise. I attended the first night and I'm still not absolutely sure about my reaction.
Let me simply explain the plot and then give you my thoughts about it.
The play opens in a small, even tiny, flat shared by two women. Chelsea, who we find sitting on the couch with her elder sister, Lisa. The dialogue quickly reveals us to the conclusion that Chelsea has just had an abortion and Lisa is, asked, offering support, with a side dressing of judgement.
The cast and crew of Soup in rehearsal (Photograph courtesy of Ryan Marano)
Lisa leaves in a huff after making some soup (the title role) and Jess, a near neighbour, texts support (with a side order of condemnation) before being hung up on.
Then Chelsea's lesbian flatmate, Kim, returns from her weekend down South and offers support because she sees the abortion as a political statement.
All of these duologue interactions are fraught and intense - nothing odd there, given the premise. What does make it unusual is that all the women are played by men - not in drag, not in falsetto voices, but as normal, some with quite heavy beards - Maximillian Strzelecki, Sean Crofton, Patrick McCarthy and Isaac Spike Powel.
Ana Neves directing her cast in Soup (Photograph by Marshall Stay)
This was hysterically funny to the mainly young, mainly female, audience. Every time one of the actors said something like 'I'm your big sister ...' they fell about.
I frankly, have absolutely no idea what young women talk like when there are no men present, and will never know - but these conversations don't ring true to me (or my sister, who is a woman) but perhaps we're the wrong age. If I did not know the play was written by Ana Neves, a woman, I would have imagined it have been written, or at least workshopped, by men.
Where I have concerns is ... what is the purpose of the play? It is self-described as satire (a very dangerous device, open to all kinds of mis-interpretation) but who is being satirised? Men? Men's attitudes? If that's so, I doubt it is best served by this device. Women? That seems closer to me, particularly the nonsense spouted in Kim's final speech/diatribe, a veritable ideal of demagoguery.
So my suggestion is that you go and see the play and make up your own mind. Certainly, it's thought-provoking and stimulates discussion and that can't be a bad thing.
Soup runs until the 4th February and tickets may be bought on-line here.