This is independent theatre at its best – presenting sharply observed narratives in a novel way.
It was a privilege to experience a little taste of a Bush Doof, regional WA style, courtesy of the talented crew from independent theatre company, Rorschach Beast.
The remote farmland setting for such a party encourages the shedding of inhibitions and the sharing of uncomfortable moments from our past lives.
In this performance ‘outdoors’ at the Blue Room Theatre, we are invited to experience three different stories, linked only by each one arising from conversations among friends and acquaintances attending the Bush Doof.
It is a nicely realised innovation that we get to witness these stories right in there with the characters, in the back of a car, positioned for the ‘french over’ shot utilised by filmmakers. And the seating progressively gets more comfortable as we move from vignette to vignette, from car to kombi.
The staging calls for three people to a car which is somehow appropriate as a typical attendee grouping may well be a couple and an unrelated individual, which likely mirrors the way the farm party encourages conversation both with intimate friends and with random strangers.
As with much of the best theatre storytelling, the observations informing the script are universal and familiar themes emerge in each of the tales.
We’ve all had moments where we have revealed previously suppressed truths or had to face up to revelations from someone close to us about the direction of their life. Somehow the front seat of a car encourages intimacy, perhaps conversing without looking at each other, and for the audience to witness this up-close but remotely, in the back seat, is very clever.
Some of it is maudlin, some poignant, some sad but the characters are so recognisable and we are right there with them in their revelations. The actors all hit the mark with their portrayals – they really are the young adults, coming of age.