16: random

6 Apr

What an incredible play. I saw random by debbie tucker green at the World Theatre Festival at Brisbane Powerhouse and loved it so much that I bought the play script and came back to see it again the following day.

woman holding copy of Random

Reading the play was like seeing the performance. I’ve never encountered a script before where the writing tells you exactly how it should be said, where the breaths come in, which words to stress – and all of this with barely a stage direction throughout.

debbie tucker green writes in poetry for the stage. She writes in the patois of the characters, with rhythm, pace and crackling energy all embedded in the language and the line breaks.

Here are some examples (taken out of order and out of context):

SISTER: You spose to rule y’dog.
Y’dog ent spose to rule yu.
I see them Staf-Bull sportin youts
bein dragged by their beas’s –
tryin an’ stylin to look like they not.

BROTHER: 9.10.
Pass the Staf-Bull bredrins –
‘Wha’gwa’an.’
Pass the youts doin the same as me –
‘Move.’
They as late as me.

MUM: Why you can’t walk inna ones and twos?
That gone outta fashion?
Pon street – why yu can’t walk inna –
yu noh haf fe bunch up
crowd up
loaft street
inna – posse
crew
pack
or whatever dem wan’ call it.

random is a one-woman play where the actor plays many parts, four of them in the same family. It’s the story of what starts as a typical day and ends up as a tragedy after a ‘random’ attack. Reading it, I was amazed again with the way that debbie tucker green has made the characters – mum, dad, sister, brother, teacher – so different and specific. The performance I saw was astonishing (Zahra Newman was the actor) but it’s all there in the text. The accents, speed of delivery and feeling are all written into the dialogue.

It made me realise that theatre can be a poem. It made me want to try to write in new ways.

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