‘Cured’ is the latest play to be written by WAAPA trained actor, Marisa Garreffa. This macabre production from Mondo di Corpo and the City of Perth is showing at Monash House, 834 Hay Street, Perth (opposite His Majesty's Theatre) until Sunday 27th May. All shows at 8.00 pm.
On arrival at the temporary theatre, you pass through a farm animal ossuary to collect your ticket. The ‘ticket’ is a white hairnet that must be worn. The programme comes on a polystyrene tray wrapped in cling film and labelled with an expiry date. One has no doubt as to the theme of this play. The auditorium is a cooler room, chilled with ‘freezing mist’ covering the stage. A track of empty hooks lines a wall and a large chopping block sits centre stage. Sawdust is strewn over the floor. Strangely, in the corner sits a trombonist (Blake Phillips) dressed in a dinner suit and bowler hat.
Slowly the hook rack is filled with carcasses, ranging in size from a small ham to half a pig. The meat deliveryman (Paul Grabovac) brings in the final carcass, although in colour and size it blends in with the others, you realise that this is in fact a woman, naked - I always knew Garreffa has the best prime cuts on show. An egg timer goes off and the brass player breaks into tune. The woman (Marisa Garreffa) comes to life and looks around at the strange environment.
She puts on a shift dress, apron and starts to prepare a suckling pig for the oven (the recipe is in the programme). She begins to tell the tale of Night, a small village miles from anywhere, where people are sent to die.
Surrounded by death, the girl felt a misfit in the township and, in a Munchausen-like way, became ill in order to blend in with the others. However, in a settlement where the whole livelihood depends upon income from death, funerals and graves, was this a wise move?
Immediately on entering the theatre space the clever design (John Sheedy, assisted by Brie Rutter) of white PVC sheets on all of the walls, ensured the semblance of a hygienic setting. With Jenny Vila’s lighting giving great effects, coupled with the eerie sounds of Joe Lui’s clever blend of music and low thunder-like noises, the tension and suspense built up beautifully.
Marisa is obviously perfectly at home in this environment, but for most of the audience it was a new experience and one that made you stare in awe at the butchering setup. I kept wondering, which one of the audience could be next on the chopping block? Or being prepared for the oven? Marisa has built up a complex character for this village misfit, one minute she is in love; next you can feel her loneliness and fear.
This very dark, hour-long, comedy was ‘Plated Up’ by director Katya Shevtsov and ‘Infused’ by dramaturg, George Shevtsov. It may well have upset some folk, but one has to admire Marisa for serving up something completely new. The writing was clever, at times poetic, delivered throughout with a cheeky grin and an engaging manner that made us all expect to be next on the preparation table.
The tale was filled with dark gripping symbolism. A brave new genus of play delivered with courage. A strange but enjoyable experience.
Choreographer required for The Phantom of the Opera
Rehearsals Mandurah Senior College
Production performs at Mandurah Performing Arts Centre November.
Please apply in writing to firstname.lastname@example.org
Please include CV in regards to dance and theatrical experience.
Rehearsals will commence late June, you will be needed for audition day on 23rd and 30th of June.