I have not, however, gone to any Adelaide Festival Writer's Week sessions - despite being highly enthusiastic about it for two years. There weren't nearly as many people this year who were interesting to me, I've had a lot of University reading, and Dave Foley ogling, and I just couldn't be bothered. I still feel ashamed about it. I guess it's another two years of waiting.
But onto the plays.
The first was 'Fitting Rooms' by Jennifer Lusk, which has the potential to be a very good play given a larger budget and more rehearsal time. The Fringe was the first time it was performed, and Jennifer herself only graduated from the Flinders Uni Drama department in 2004. (Yes, she was the female equivalent of a scary acty person.) So, you know, the production had some kinks it needs to iron out. It's about an assortment of characters trapped in the fitting rooms of a department store that has gone into security lock-down, and it uses absurdist and topical humour to good effect. I liked it.
The second play I went to see was 'The Bogus Woman', by Kay Adshead and this was as different a production as you could get. It was not in need of a larger budget, or more rehearsal, and has been performed for around five years. It was depressing, and confrontational, and brilliant. It followed the story of a young African woman fleeing her own country after the brutal mass murder of her family to seek asylum in England. She is detained and sent to Campsfield House. One actress, Sarah Niles, played all 48 characters involved, by switching accents and mannerisms in short snaps. It was truly amazing watching her click from the main character to a prison guard, or a nurse, or the main character's lawyer. It was a brilliant performance just for that - but then there was also the emotion she conveyed, which was heartbreakingly startling. The whole play was literally breathtaking and had people uncomfortably sitting perched on their seats. The last scene is really shock theatre at its finest - and I will you, nay, dare you to not come away from the play seriously disturbed if not a little tearful. It's really no surprise that Sarah Niles and the play were given a standing ovation.