Who Do You See? (Duck Duck Goose Theatre Company)

whodoyousee1Venue: King Street Theatre (Newtown NSW), Sep 8 – 23, 2013
Playwright: Gavin Roach
Director: Sarah Vickery
Actors: David Griffiths, Emma Jones, Suz Mawer, Jack Michel, Christian O’Connor

Theatre review
It is a brave decision to stage a play entirely in the dark, for what is a play without its visual aspect? Who Do You See? engages only your aural senses, which is an undoubtedly unusual exercise, but it also proves to be a challenging one. Five actors recite sections of the play pertaining to their individual characters, but these are not first-person narratives. They refer to their characters by name, rather than “I”. As a result, the experience is similar to that of listening to an audio book with narration by different voices, and quite extensive but subtle sound effects. One therefore wonders if this production would have worked equally well as an audio recording, and whether having the audience physically present at the venue is necessary.

Similar to the experience of reading, this production engages the imagination much more than a conventional staging would. The evocative title demands that the audience questions the assumptions they make in their own visualisations. We play with identity markers like ethnicity, height, weight, age, and clothing, trying to decide which versions of our imagined characters are accurate or appropriate. At the end of the show, lights are finally turned up and we get to see the actors. If the actors are different from what you had imagined them to look like, what does that say about your beliefs and prejudices?