Tag Archives: Griffith

174: Never For Ever

16 Oct

Daniel Evan’s Never For Ever is a coming-of-age tale with many twists. It’s a funny, crude, sweet and poignant story about Peter and Wendy in a supermarket.

Peter Pan rescues Wendy

Peter Pan rescuing Wendy. Illustration by Mabel Lucie Atwell.

Never For Ever was commissioned by Griffith University’s Applied Theatre Department for their student production I Will Kiss You in Four Places. Four Brisbane writers were each given the challenge of writing a 20-minute play with at least six characters and only a month to submit the first draft. Clearly this was enough time for Evans to create a rich and fantastical world peopled with the bizarre, the bruised and some seriously OTT characters.

It’s the middle of the night in some suburban supermarket and the night team are restocking the shelves, knowing that when they turn 21 they’ll get the yellow slip out of there. Their days are numbered and for those, like Peter, who don’t want to get older it’s a clock that ticks as loudly as the one the crocodile swallowed.

Peter is a lost boy on the cusp of turning 21. He’s suffering amnesia and can only remember when Wendy tells him the story of the things they’ve experienced together since he fell to earth (into the freezer). They work with a strange bunch of people, including Charmaine who continuously mouths off in graphic detail about her sordid sex life.

WENDY: Harriet’s right. You tell us everything, Charmaine.
AUGUSTUS: No detail is spared.
HARRIET: It’s like you forgot to switch on your privacy settings.
CHARMAINE: Yeah. Well. I’ll tell you one other thing: You can all go get stuffed. I put the extra– in extraordinary, which means I finish five letters in front of you boring nobody numbskulls.

But, while the others eat, chat, steal and occasionally work, Peter is seeing and interacting with Neverland’s lost boys, Indians, mermaids and fairies.

PETER: Thinking’s for grown-ups—
WENDY: Lying’s for grown-ups. It’s their native language.
PETER: Pirates lie all the time—
WENDY: Grown-ups are pirates—
PETER: Really?
WENDY: Duh. Think about it. It’s just the sort of lie they’d tell you to make everything—
PETER/WENDY: Easier.
WENDY: Exactly. Like Santa Claus.
PETER: Crusts.
WENDY: The Easter Bunny.
PETER: Vegetables.
WENDY: God. Do you believe in God?
PETER: I believe in fairies.
WENDY: Close enough.

Never For Ever starts off absurd and crass and slowly morphs into something astonishingly sweet and tender.

WENDY: It doesn’t get better, Peter. It gets the same. Sometimes it gets worse. What changes is here: this heals, and then maybe it breaks again. But if you’re lucky, if you hold on long enough—you find the person who can glue it back together, who’ll hold it for you if it gets too heavy, trap it if it tries to slip away. You’re that person. You have this. You have me. Always. We have to make something of our lives now. We have to grow up. We have to pretend to be responsible.

Publisher: Playlab Press in I Will Kiss You in Four Places (published in CD format rather than on paper)

Cast: 6M, 5F plus lots of Neverland characters

168: The Gate Crasher

2 Oct

Stephen Carleton was commissioned to write The Gate Crasher by Griffith University’s Applied Theatre Department for their student production I Will Kiss You in Four Places. Four Brisbane writers were each given the challenge of writing a 20-minute play with at least six characters and only a month to submit the first draft.

I Will Kiss You in Four Places

The Gate Crasher is a play about five friends meeting after the wake of a school friend they’d all admired and lusted over. Jett was the guy everyone wanted to be like or date but he died young in a motorbike accident. The gate crasher of the play’s title is Larissa, who appears to be another girl from school but whom none of them remember although she seems to know everything about them.

MISHA: I still can’t place you, Larissa. It’s crazy, isn’t it? You think you remember everyone from high school, but I look at the photos and I swear—a good third of the faces are strangers to me. All those days—years—of being stuck together. Those hours of torture that drag by during classes you don’t give a shit about. I’ve forgotten it already. Or repressed it. I couldn’t tell you what rooms half of my classes were in. I only barely remember the architecture of the building. I don’t remember what was on the walls. Which rooms were carpeted and which were tiled. Which ones the air conditioning worked in. What was I doing? Walking around in a fucking fog for five years?

At first it seems a relatively innocent reunion at a sad time, but as the play progresses the events become more and more sinister and Larissa’s knowledge of intimate details of their lives goes from being unsettling to downright creepy.

LARISSA: She was always going to marry a rescuer.
KEL: Excuse me?
LARISSA: She used to burn herself with cigarettes. Down behind the bike sheds. She hated herself.
KEL: Can you please stop being an expert on my friends’ lives? We don’t even know who you are.

Stephen Carleton is a master of witty, clever dialogue and has also made a name for himself for gothic tales (Constance Drinkwater and the Final Days of Somerset) and this piece is a nice mixture of the two. Given the time constraints for writing it, it’s obviously not as deep or detailed as his other plays, but it’s a fun read and lets us discover the dark side of the old school yard … and prawn trawlers.

RYAN I’m sick of prawns. […] Sick of pulling off the shells and rippin’ out the guts. Sick of the cuts and bits of shell under my fingernails. Sick of stinkin’ like prawns even after I’ve scrubbed off six layers of skin trying to get the fuckin’—
KEL Can we leave the fisherman’s vocabulary on the boats, please?

Publisher: Playlab Press in I Will Kiss You in Four Places (published in CD format rather than on paper)
Cast: 4F, 2M