The stage is set for a town hall meeting; familiar faces meet to discuss the world’s troubles and debate how best to move forward. Humour draws the audience in early, humour that is intelligently used to placate and lull the audience before the rug is pull out.
The characters stalk the stage while the story unfolds, making sure that the audience attention is held with every word uttered. The performers unpack vast issues facing the world, issues that deeply impact each performer on stage. They hold nothing back and demand to be heard, but heard their way. They want us to see the world through their eyes, a world that rarely makes room for them.
And it is here that we find the drive for the work, as each world issue is peeled back the audience is given insight into the failings of an ‘inclusive’ society. We soon see where and how society has let down and turned a blind eye to the injustices of individuals with intellectual disabilities.
The work is masterfully simple and direct, with each issue cleverly offered as a throw away statement or said in the context of the fictitious world portrayed on stage. It isn’t long however before the audience realises that each phrase and word uttered have very real weight and are deeply rooted in our everyday society.
This work needs to be experienced to be full grasped and by more than just a festival audience. This is Australian theatre at it’s finest and the fact that we seem to only see these performers and stories during a festival, is a continued example of just how our major companies are missing the mark when it comes to diversity on our stages.
The Shadow Whose Prey the Hunter Becomes
Fairfax Studio – Arts Centre Melbourne, 100 St Kilda Road, Melbourne
Performance: Saturday 12 October 2019
Season continues to 20 October 2019
Information and Bookings: www.festival.melbourne
Image: The Shadow Whose Prey the Hunter Becomes – photo by Zan Wimberley
Review: Gavin Roach