Left – Radek Jonak and Graeme McRae. Cover – Alexander Palacio. Photos – John Marmaras.
Fear is the key to Stalking The Bogeyman, a play akin but not quite verbatim, about a victim coming to grips with his violator. The play's protagonist is the play's primary author, David Holthouse, who was raped as a 7 year old by his 17 year old neighbour, the Bogeyman of the title. Fear of physical recrimination and fear for his family's well being as well puts a lid on David's reporting of the incident, but it dwells inside him like a curse.
As he grows up and pursues a career in journalism, he studies and investigates paedophiles and discovers that many of them had been violated when young. He likens it to lycanthropy, and worries, that like Larry Talbot once bitten by a werewolf, the moon will rise some night and he will succumb to the infection with a predilection for kiddie fiddling.
Stalking The Bogeyman is a rudimentary script, a plot point narrative polished by Markus Potter with additional writing by Shane Ziegler, Shane Stokes and Santino Fontana.
The play begins with David Holthouse plotting the assassination of the person who assaulted him as a child and ends with him quoting the Bible – Romans 12:19. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord.
Stalking The Bogeyman sifts through rage, recrimination and revenge, exploring ideas of redemption and reconciliation.
Graeme McRae plays David Holthouse with an affability that belies the affliction of his abuse, an empathetic character who keeps his secret not out of self shame but protecting his parents from any sense they failed their protective remit. Radek Jonak plays The Bogeyman with all the misplaced machismo of a text book testosterone topped tosser, a bully brandishing samurai swords, nunchaku, shuriken, and challenges children to feats of physical prowess like press ups and punching. As David's parents, Noel Hodda and Deborah Jones hit the homely, concerned couple with the same affability their son projects. As the perpetrator's parents, Alexander Palacio and Anne Tenney likewise present an apparently normal middle class couple, with Palacio exhibiting a braggadocio that may trigger his son's transmutation to monstrous transgression.
Lauren Peters' stage design is redolent of a 1970s rumpus room, suggesting both the location of the actual assault and the dark recesses of Holthouse's memory, buried in the basement vibe.
Neil Gooding Productions and NewYorkRep, in association with Red Line Productions presents
STALKING THE BOGEYMAN
by David Holthouse and Markus Potter | additional writing Shane Ziegler, Shane Stokes and Santino Fontana
Director Neil Gooding
Venue: The Old Fitz Theatre | 129 Dowling St, Woolloomooloo, NSW
Dates: 23 May – 23 June 2018
Tickets: $33 – $55