Oedipus Doesn’t Live Here Anymore

‘Oedipus Doesn’t Live Here Anymore’ is Aussie playwright Daniel Evan’s extremely fast, savage and fiendishly funny action-packed 2014 play. The play has won the Queensland Premier’s Drama Award. This classic Ancient Greek Tragedy is delivered as a contemporary Australian experience, showing us the underside of society in the raw.

Daniel Evans is a Creative Arts graduate interested in all types of creation from writing to sculpture and painting.

Like most of his plays, the playwright wrote this script with teenage actors in mind. There is even a script allowing two actors to perform this show – the mind boggles, these five worked hard.

This 94-minute, life experience can be seen at The Hayman ‘Pop Up’ Theatre in Building 203 (art department), Curtin University, off Manning Road, Bentley. The Pop-Up thanks to Stephen Carr is a central stage with tiered seating around the four sides and an impressive lighting rig.

The New Hayman theatre that opened a couple of years ago is being extended with a new foyer, ladies’ toilet and another smaller performance space.

These For 94 manic minutes of dark and sick humour shows commence at 7.00 pm each evening until Saturday 29th February. Please DON’T think ‘another second-rate student show’, this small cast gave everything – including incredible quality.

The Scene: the house next door to you in North Perth (?) 2020

The Set: that was designed by Jasmine Valentini and Kiri Siva comprises a 3-metre square platform, 30 cms above the ground. The stage floor is covered in torn magazines and newspapers. The paper hides a dozen trapdoors that open throughout the action to reveal everything from hidden actors to fresh ice cream. The myriad of strange properties was sourced by Thomas Bach, Mikayla Fanto and Ella Randle.

Chloe Palliser was the lighting designer and operator. The lighting plan was extremely complex but once again flawless, even with the many split-second changes and effects.

Sound designer, Jonathan Hoey produced sounds that ranged from heavy punk music to gun fire. He had just the right volume and kick in each noise. He worked in perfect union with the lighting operator.

The Stage Manager, poor Hayley Neil had the thankless and intricate task of ensuring that sixty props were under the correct trapdoor and in the appropriate order. The set ended like an Albee play – I will say no more. Production Managers Stephen Carr and Sarah Connelly had a huge challenge and it worked!

What if Oedipus lived next door? What if the whole street knew what he’d been up to with his own mother, because of the words daubed in fluorescent letters on his garage door?

                The audience is effectively a group of voyeurs judgmentally watching and learning the inner most secrets of all the quirky characters with their tragic and hopeless lives.

The play’s five stars – and each and every actor in this play was a star – they were slick and packed with personality. Their whole bodies lived their parts. Well done Nelson Fannon, Alex Hutchings, Travis Koch, Hetty Lobegeiger and Jade Woodhouse. Brilliant.

Don’t worry if you do not know the story or have trouble following the flow of the play, this is a intensely detailed character study of Ancient Greeks, who still seem to be remarkably familiar in today’s society.

The costume designer and wardrobe supervision was by Kiri Siva. The styling was excellent.

These highly talented student actors performed flawlessly, even communicating with the audience. They were rehearsed to perfection with a clever but tricky script that was made up mainly of personal outbursts from highly charged characters. Every actor had several very different parts to play, often running straight into the next with a total character change. The ultimate challenge.

The set was in the round and so the cast had to work the audience by rotating as they delivered their dialogue. It meant strong projection was required throughout by the actors.

Director Leah Mercer saw a reading of the play by the Queensland Theatre Company and so with Assistant Director Kyra Belford-Thomas, Dramaturg Matt Jones and Fight Director Lawrence Hassell the play was vividly brought to life.

The intensely demanding delivery of the acting is a little wearing on the audience who must be focused 100% of the time. The drama is unrelenting and there is no interval to recharge the batteries. The cast however showed no signs of flagging, but by the end they must have been hurting inside.

An amazing piece that would be even better on a second visit.