Fake Porno | Ride On

Fake Porno | Ride OnLeft - Peta Sergeant and Jim Daly. Photo - Pia Johnson

For some, they will need to be informed that Radovan Karadzic was captured in Belgrade last week. His arrest made national headlines in Australia for what seemed only a day or two, as seemingly more current world events attracted our newspapers and attention. And so alas, our thoughts of war torn Serbia slipped back to what they have been for years now, distant memories.

For the lives of Serbs all over the world however, this news would not have slipped so easily from their minds. And as I found myself watching Ride On’s Fake Porno, the effect this news could bring, suddenly became much more comprehensible.

Bojana Novakovic’s translation, adaptation and direction of Serbian text, Fake Porno is the latest work from Ride On theatre, a company steered by the artistic vision of Tanya Goldberg and Novakovic herself. Committed to producing pioneering performances, Ride On educates, enlightens, challenges and to me, succeeds in everything theatre should be.

This is no exception in Fake Porno, performed in Lupa Art, an art space committed to exploring ideas in the environment as a whole. I have entered Northcote’s Lupa Art on a number of occasions however this was the first time I entered to find a Belgrade café/nightclub complete with homemade Serbian cakes and strong European spirits being served. Eurovision was blasting on the television screen and we were enlightened through Serbian news programs about current weather updates. Kitschy turbo folk created a smooth ambience and the outside sounds of Westgarth St moulded into the sounds I soon identified as Belgrade nightlife.

As I settled into my new environment, the local generation of Belgrade began to enter the space. Threaded together by the secret video recordings of a local Taxi Driver (played superbly by Jim Daly), these everyday Belgrade characters were from all walks of life. Through his eyes, they soon emerged to be the underbelly of Serbia, all on their own personal search for intimacy. Each had a need for understanding, each a longing for forgiveness, and each was hungry for love whether their justifications were moral or not. With exceptional standout performances from Daniel Frederiksen, Tomek Koman, Louise Quill, Hallie Shellam, Peta Sergent and Wazzadeeno Wharton-Thomas, these characters become a force of their own. What was created was an engaging and insightful view of a younger generation, whose only life experiences come from a war-torn country. Set in Belgrade, these were not sob stories but an emotive and moving glance at the barriers one creates to force distance from the truth. These are a lost generation and we are ashamedly forced to realise, the world has forgotten about them.

What made this piece so compelling was the talent of Novakovic. Born in Serbia, she translated these stories with a fierce patriotic passion, bringing pride as well as awareness back to her homeland. She directed the show in an equally superb manner and never was there a hint of a dull moment, a wandering gaze or pause for breath. This interactive performance played out in every possible inch of performance space and her intention to create audience heckling, almost thankfully, due to the constant flow of action and high energy performances didn’t ensue. I simply would have screamed had there been interruptions and the same anxiety of missing any part of the performance seemed bestowed on the rest of the audience.

Novakovic injected a fear in me during this performance, however never a negative one. It was an exhilarating fear of not knowing where to look but not knowing where not to look. It was that fear of being too involved in a performance, of being requested to dance, of being asked to make a contribution, and yet when not asked, scared of missing out. It was that fear of being transformed into a confusing and unfamiliar world without control, however feeling total admiration at the people who were taking me there.

It’s the challenging of ideas and creation of such strong emotions in both audience and performers alike that makes Ride On an electrifying theatre company. With Novakovic and Goldberg at the reigns, I’m sitting quietly in fear for the next trip I am to be taken on and can only hope that more people continue to open their eyes, take the plunge and join the ride.


Ride On Theatre present
FAKE PORNO

Where: Lupa – The Red Rollerdoor | Rear 55 High Street, Cnr Westgarth & High Streets, Northcote Melbourne
Season: 28 July – 10 August 2008
Times: Mon – Sat at 8pm
Tickets: $15
Bookings: 9513 5084
Contact: \n This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it or www.lupaart.blogspot.com

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