A Fair Arrangement by Sam Floyd. Freshly Ground Theatre directed by Remy Coll, QL2 Theatre, Gorman House Arts Centre, Wednesday July 30 – Friday August 1 and Tuesday – Saturday August 5-9, 2008, 7.30pm. Bookings: Ring 0450 067 322 (5-8pm).
“Do you want a hand cleaning up?” asks 28 year old husband Craig of his 28 year old wife Trish. “No, it’s fine,” she says. “There’s not much mess.”
But, of course, there is. Not on the dining room table where the casserole was never served. Sean had offered to help Trish by taking it out of the oven, but was “too busy” under the table with 28 year old Liv, so it burnt dry while, on the lounge room couch, Trish tried to show Liv’s 28 year old husband Sean how to properly respect her. Liv, that is, but ….
On the face of it, this could be a superficial sitcom, but Floyd’s writing and Coll’s directing keep the feeling natural, allowing humour and irony to flow from the characters and how they relate to each other. It’s nice to see modern young Canberrans reflecting upon their own lives honestly and without pretension. It makes great theatre, with evenly balanced ensemble playing by Tom Watson as the cynical wit Craig, Bryony Stokes as the down to earth student of clinical psychology Trish, Jasmine De Martin as the less-than-intellectual sexy Liv, and Sam Floyd as Sean, a money-making manipulator.
Freshly Ground Theatre sounds like what Starbucks needs right now, but there is more depth to this work than mere coffee-shop chit chat. Trish is an observer of the others, trying to establish a kind of professional distance, while she cannot escape the fact that here is her husband and her friend who is not treated well by her husband who sees Trish as his next conquest. There is no academic debate, no great dramatic climax, but philosophical and emotional conundrums make us laugh while we think. Is the arrangement fair? Are affairs OK?
The FGT team is a new independent theatre, consisting of 20+ year olds about town with backgrounds in college drama. They have local performing and backstage experience coming together around Floyd, the writer, whose next work Not Axel Harrison will be presented in November. If A Fair Arrangement is anything to go by, Freshly Ground Theatre is one to watch.
© Frank McKone M.A., F.A.C.E.
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