Appalling Behaviour is appalling – the story is appalling, the character is appalling and the concept is appalling. At the same time it is brilliant.
Stephen House has written a disturbingly honest one-man play about living on the streets. Herein lies the conundrum. The truth is appalling, not particularly palatable, nor comforting. Nevertheless, no matter how confronting this level of honesty, this is House at his best.
Author House also plays the street dweller with finesse, using at times poetic language to convey the message. Nevertheless the main character lives in appalling circumstances, and is a bottom dweller of Parisian society.
Initially it is difficult to discern exactly what this play, and its author is trying to achieve. A vague feeling of disorientation lingers, a sense of having entered a surreal house of horrors without any real reason.
It would be easy to dismiss this play, and it’s awful message, to shake off the discomfort. However, this brilliant and brazen one-hour play is not easily dismissed. Slowly a sense of unease is replaced with a dawning, and equally uneasy sense that the street dweller is perhaps not as alien as one might like.
The truth as with most things is layered, and this play has many layers and is powerful in its delivery. Loneliness, isolation, battles with conscience, rejection, and dishonesty are all too common themes. The streets of Paris could be any city streets, and more disturbingly the pain of this sorry human being could be any lost soul’s.
House’s disturbing derelict is presented warts and all, as are his inner yearnings, emotions and wretchedness. The awfulness of his situation and his subsequent actions are not sanitized for human consumption.
The play is cold comfort, as this itinerant’s troubled life is laid bare on a stark, black stage. At the same time, House cleverly and brilliantly poses disturbingly honest questions, ones that many may prefer to sweep under a warm and fuzzy façade.
Professional Collective presents
Written & Performed by Stephen House
Directed by Justin McGuinness
Venue: The Bakehouse Theatre | 255 Angas Street, Adelaide
Dates: July 29 – August 8, 2010
Times: Thursdays – Saturdays @ 8pm
Tickets: Adults $18 / Conc. $12/ Fringe Benefits $12
Bookings: www.bakehousetheatre.com | 82270505