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The Good Girl - Black Martini Theatre

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by Desiree Walsh (subscribe)
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The Good Girl covers such subjects as intimacy, gender, power, exploitation, class systems, sex the political and the relationship between fear and violence
The Black Martini Theatre aims to give their audience something different and The Good Girl by Australian playwright Emilie Collyer with her provocative writing delivers on that.

The Good Girl is set in the future, an adult sci-fi black comedy that draws its humour from its continual interplay with the absurd. The play has three characters but only two actors, Anjali (Shannon Rogers) madam of the sexbot and Ven (Hock Edwards), the sexbot mechanical maintenance person. The third character, the sexbot (robot) remains behind the scenes unseen but heard from behind the backdrop baring no name but "she".

Following a pandemic, sex is removed from relationships and government controlled sexbot brothels are set-up as a means to control disease. The sexbot is programmed to deliberately be void of emotion and all submissive or perceived negative stereotype attributes of femininity and/or masculinity the sexbot's only focus pleasure. But ironically despite this brave new world focus on pleasure this society has a two level class structure consisting of "the select" and everyone else. "The select" are permitted to breed, live in large homes with all the affluent trappings. Anjali and Ven are members of the "have nots" who long to join the "haves" in that selected life of the few.

Whilst Ven is carrying out maintenance he discovers the sexbot in Anjali's charge displays illegal behaviours such as cries post sex and pleads for her male clients not to leave. When Ven asks Anjali how this has happened, she not completely sure suspects osmosis, some kind of assimilation of exchange between her and "She". Ven strikes a deal with Anjali in exchange for him not reporting this to their superiors. Ven suspects that male clients would be willing to pay large sums for such displays of emotion and such illegal attributes, so together they set up a black market operation. It's not long before Ven assumptions about male profit making prove right, greed and ambition drive Anjali to up "She's" range to include jealousy, anger, nagging and finally fear.

The Good Girl covers such subjects as intimacy, gender, power, exploitation, class systems, sex the political and the relationship between fear and violence. It is not a piece that sets out to improve representations of women but add to the discussions around those representations. It is through this adaptation that Emilie Collyer plays tribute to one of the founding women of sci-fi works, Mary Shelley. There are several other similarities between The Good Girl and Frankenstein: the choice to use of science fiction genre to make their commentary because it detaches the themes of the play from the more complex real world and present time applications, thereby deconstructing and better illustrating the various subject representations absurdity. Another likeness is that both "she" in the Good Girl and the monster (Frankenstein) were created with androgyny and both remain unnamed. There are many other similarities to be found.

The only downside to The Good Girl is that the play relies on the audiences' ability to catch on through its fast moving dialogue, Emilie Collyer left a distinctive narrative off her written pages. What this means for an audience is an acute case of comprehension lag no matter the production. However, Shannon Rogers and Hock Edwards under the direction of Tay Broadly take on that challenge and engage in the fast moving dialogue in this two handler piece. What they deliver is a remarkably good show making this production of the Good Girl definitely worth seeing.
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*Desiree Walsh was invited as a guest
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Why? Fast moving and provocative production
When: 10th November - 12th November
Where: Black Martini Theatre, Studio 411, 90 South Street, Murdoch
Cost: starting at $10 concession
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