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The Absence of Knowing at La Mama Theatre

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by Samsara (subscribe)
I am a director, playwright, and theatre critic with a Masters in Writing for Performance. You can check out my my portfolio and musings at
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A journey to the edge of believability
Acclaimed director Richard Murphet brings a stunning double bill to La Mama Theatre from 17 August in The Absence of Knowing. Dog Play and Four Men are two sexually and politically charged works from Belgian playwright Elvis Peeters and watching them will leave you unsettled and questioning everything.

Absence of Knowing, Dog Play, Four Men, Richard Murphett, Elvis Peeters, Rob Meldrum
Elvis Peeters - self portrait

It's a post-truth age, where the news we don't like is fake and the opinions we disagree with are lies. How do we believe what we hear? How do we know if our memories are real or just desperate fabrications?

Peeters pushes his words and stories to the edge of believability in Dog Play and Four Men. He pushes action through to the fatal consequences of our inability to face inconvenient truths. For Peeters, it is s question of gender. The men in Four Men drift to the edge of the world. They scatter stories in a desperate attempt to make sense of their lives. Women are gathered like object to be used, abused, defended and desired. In Dog Play sex is romanticised to the edge of death.

Absence of Knowing, Dog Play, Four Men, Richard Murphett, Elvis Peeters, Rob Meldrum
The Absence of Knowing at La Mama Theatre

The two stories dramatise the consequences of the myth of male adventure. The plays are thrilling, suspenseful, physically shocking and deeply moving. Their language is that of a writer steeped in punk and post-punk music.

Peeters is mainly known in Belgium and the Netherlands as a singer in the punk band Aroma Di Amore. Since the 1990s he has written for theatre, radio and musical theatre. He has also published several prize-winning novels.

Absence of Knowing, Dog Play, Four Men, Richard Murphett, Elvis Peeters, Rob Meldrum
Statue of Meleager - photo by Bibi Saint-Pol

The Absence of Knowing is the Australian premiere of Peeters' plays. Murphet originally directed Four Men in Belgium in 2000 and has been looking for an opportunity to present both plays in Australia ever since.

Murphet is the 2017 recipient of the Green Room Lifetime Achievement Award. In the two years prior, he has presented successful seasons of his own work (2015), and Courage To Kill (2016). In The Absence of Knowing Murphet works with industry icons including Rob Meldrum and Roger Alsop as well as an array of exciting independent and emerging theatre makers.
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Why? Explore the flaws and fears in the male psychology of adventure.
When: 17 August - 3 September 2017
Phone: 03 9347 6142
Where: La Mama Theatre, 205 Faraday Street, Carlton
Cost: From $15
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