Dawn. An unnamed country riven by civil war. A Western traveller is huddled on the bathroom floor of an anonymous hotel room. Shaking and sweating with fever, he embarks upon a lurid and hallucinatory odyssey. This is Ginsberg’s HOWL for the twenty-first century; a reckoning of the account owed for living the life of first world privilege.
Wallace Shawn’s (My Dinner with Andre, The Princess Bride) bravura monologue – whimsical, dizzying and harrowing – unspools the finely calibrated symbiosis between rich and poor, and eviscerates the myth of liberal democracy.
“I was trying to explain to all the nice people out there how it could be possible that from our own point of view we’re so nice, and we’re so lovable, and we’re so cute, and so sensitive, and yet from the point of view of people who are weak and powerless we are an implacable, vicious enemy,” says Wallace Shawn.
With The Fever, Shawn goes to the heart of what it means to be a responsible global citizen: to face dangerous, impossible and madness-inducing questions. Questions that embarrass and destabilise, that make hipster platitudes like ‘we’re all in this together’ turn sour in your mouth.
Ferocious, wry, and vividly passionate, Shawn’s virtuosic text tears its way through the shame, the ethical paralysis and the gluttonous, guilty pleasure of being born at the top of the heap.
Real-life partners Tom Healey and James Wardlaw reunite professionally for the first time in over a decade for The Fever. James (last seen at La Mama in 2016’s unforgettable site-specific Uncle Vanya) is well known to theatre audiences through his credits for the MTC, Malthouse Theatre and Bell Shakespeare.
Tom is one of Melbourne’s busiest directors, dramaturgs and teachers. His recent credits include By Their Own Hands (Hayloft/ Neon) and Jumpers for Goalposts (Red Stitch). Dagmara Gieysztor (A Room of One’s Own) is the set designer with lighting designed by La Mama veteran Bronwyn Pringle (My Life in the Nude, Serial Blogger).
Director: Tom Healey Performer: James Wardlaw Set Design: Dagmara Gieysztor Lighting Design: Bronwyn Pringle Stage Management: Jess Keepence Writer: Wallace Shawn
La Mama Theatre, 205 Faraday Street, Carlton
Season: 22 February – 5 March 2017
Information and Bookings: www.lamama.com.au
Image: by Dagmara Gieyszytor