Venue: Old 505 Theatre (Surry Hills NSW), Feb 6 – 23, 2014
Playwright: Oleg Pupovac
Director: Glen Hamilton
Actors: Tara Clark, Oleg Pupovac
Image by Anna Chase
We’re Bastards is a play that doesn’t go anywhere, about people who don’t go anywhere. Everything seems congested, but within the stagnation, an abundance of characterisation is explored in its main characters. Darling and Joe are siblings living in the disenfranchised lower classes of the United States of America. Their concerns are a world away from our middle class Australian theatre audiences, but they are a pair of oddities that instantly spark our interest. It is a bit of a freak show that unfolds, but care is taken to attempt an explanation for the damage they display.
Oleg Pupovac’s script might be too simple for some tastes, but his strength as an actor shines through within the straightforward context. Pupovac achieves a level of realism with his speech and movement that gives the production a feel of authenticity. His chemistry with Tara Clark, who plays his sister, is a highlight of the show. There is a level of intimacy between the actors that comes across, and adds complexity and mystery to their relationship.
Glen Hamilton’s direction is colourful and energetic, but his style is gentle, which sometimes comes into conflict with the script that resides in a space simultaneously cold and brutal. We’re Bastards is a brave work that takes on a time and place that is ignored but intriguing. It is about the third world that is sprouting in our own backyards in this age of increasingly severe class divisions. We all have a stake in this bastardry/illegitimacy, but it is too easy to turn a blind eye, and it is the job of art to impose these stories of injustices upon us.