Michael Mohammed Ahmad - Photographer: Heidrun Lohr.
From the acclaimed Creator/Director, Roslyn Oades
of Stories of Love and Hate
(2008, STC remount 2011) and Fast Cars and Tractor Engines
(2005); is her third play, I'm your man,
in her headphone precision trilogy, This is an authentic, entertaining, highly skilled and moving insight into the world of the professional boxer.
Justin Rosniak - Photographer: Heidrun Lohr.
Since 2001 Oades has maintained a deep interest in people's speech patterns, which she describes as "audio-scripting" or "headphone verbatim" technique. Commencing in East London, she met an awe-inspiring ex-boxer, and she became enthralled with the world of the professional fighter.
Michael Mohammed Ahmad & Billy McPherson - Photographer: Heidrun Lohr.
Back in Australia, Mohammed Ahmed,
one of Oades' long-term collaborators was a former boxer who was also excited about creating a contemporary drama that explored the fight game. For 18 months she interviewed and sound recorded various boxing legends past and present around Australia. In particular, a steadfast young boxer from Bankstown, Billy "The Kid" Dib,
as he prepared for a champion title.
Katia Molino - Photographer: Heidrun Lohr.
Working with her recordings she reproduced a faithful reproduction of their speech patterns. The technique requires the cast to wear headphones throughout the performance, through which they hear the carefully edited audio-script created entirely of her recordings. The actors recreate the exact speech patterns they hear through their headphones resulting in a dramatic performance demanding a committed need for authenticity.
The result is a compelling play which draws on the experiences of past champions Jeff Fenech
and Anthony Mundine,
other up and comers as well as the losses of failed contenders; interspersing their dreams, victories, glory and desire for a better life.
John Shrimpton - Photographer: Heidrun Lohr.
The stage was transformed into a boxing gym with its body building equipment, locker room, wall covered with photos, posters and inspirational quotes. The entire cast is onstage for the performance, and when they are not holding centre stage, they are either skipping, exercising and genuinely working out. The skipping in particular, attracted heavy applause from the audience.
This is certainly one of the best plays of 2013 I have enjoyed, with outstanding performances from the entire cast: Michael Mohammed Ahmad, Billy McPherson, Katia Molino, Justin Rosniak
and John Shrimpton,
Female theatre lovers, who may feel the testosterone world of boxing better suited to a male audience, will be pleasantly surprised at how much they will be enthralled and enjoy the real-life stories and humour.
I'm Your Man will tour nationally:
Until 21 Sept. 2013
Salamanca Arts Centre, Hobart:
15 -17 August
Brown's Mart, Darwin Festival :
23 -24 August
Visy Theatre, Brisbane Powerhouse:
28 - 31 August
4 - 8 September
Hothouse Theatre, Wodonga:
11 -15 September
Riverside Theatres, Parramatta:
20 -21 September
Photographer: Heidrun Lohr.