Saturday, 26 April 2014


(Sydney Theatre Company)

There are eight people in the photograph above, right? Wrong. I thought so each time I looked at the photograph but when I noticed in the program for the Sydney Theatre Company's current staging 'Perplex' that only four performers are listed I looked again at the photograph, a bit more carefully this time, and realised that each performer appears in it twice.

A simple sleight of hand that reflects the play's origins. The program states the play originated from a nightmare dreamt by its author Marius Von Mayenburg and indeed as it unfolded the content of the play reminded me of the style of dreams I have experienced. Not the content of the dreams necessarily but the style. So often in my dreams a scenario unfolds, at times clearly at times somewhat uncertainly, until I realise I am dreaming something quite different from earlier in the dream and then finally, always the case at the end, a difficulty recalling just what it was that I had dreamt.

The four performers play a number of different characters, although their names remain unchanged, and those characters and their relationships morph seamlessly and almost unnoticeably mid scene time and again. In a sense the content of the play - deliberately fuzzy and confused as it is - didn't matter, the message I took from it was how I can't ever really, fully know others nor can they really, fully know me.

Signage at the entrance to the auditorium warns that the play features full frontal nudity and adult themes and it most assuredly does. If you are offended by male nudity then you have been warned.