Photo – Tara Louise Notcutt
...miskien means “maybe”. With the emphasis of the ellipsis as a prefix, it sums up the hope, the risk, the routine and the impossible beauty of this production.
It’s a story that’s been told before but I haven’t ever seen it created or delivered with such sensitivity, passion and intelligence. The play has justifiably won a swag of awards for direction (Tara Notcutt), and acting (Albert Pretorius (Cormac) and Gideon Lombard (Layton)).
The story is set in Cape Town where two best mates spend each evening together at happy hour. Both men are trapped. The first in a banal job and an unsatisfying relationship that he hopes will make him happy, the other by a secret. Layton and Cormac have a typical “blokey” relationship. They bond over beer, sport and tales of sexual prowess. The fragility of that mateship is exposed when each dares to reveal their vulnerability.
The first part of the play is structured perfectly to set up the repetitious nature of their lives and the friendship they’ve built. As the play went on, this initial exposition meant that fewer and fewer words were needed, and the last section of the play was extremely powerful in its silence. ...miskien was devised by Notcutt, but expanded by Pretorius and Lombard through improvisation which made the text seem so conversational it flowed naturally. The interactions between the two men were, at first, a hilarious reflection of society’s view of manhood.
In the hands of lesser actors, this play could be awkward and clichéd, however Pretorius and Lombard delivered it with such natural and intense commitment that each moment was engaging, and the final scenes, breathtaking. The audience were visibly moved, with many tears being wiped away after the gentlemen took their second bow.
The intelligence of the stage design was an asset to the production and the symbolism was both overt and subtle. The performance space was cluttered with screwed up paper which later was revealed to symbolise the chaos in Layton’s troubled mind. Two cigarette lighters, one working, one not became an integral representation of the journey.
Some parts of the dialogue are in Afrikaans; however it did not detract from the storytelling at all. Lombard and Pretorius were skilful in transferring the meaning, even though we could not understand the language. This South African import is an asset to our festival and I highly recommend you add it to your fringe experience.
The Pink Couch
Director Tara Notcutt
Venue: PICA Performance Space | 51 James St, Perth
Dates: 14 – 19 Feb, 2012 (No show Fri 17 Feb)
Duration: (approx) 60 mins
Bookings: pica.org.au | 08 9227 7005 | fringeworld.com.au