What: Dirty Pictures
Where: La Mama Courthouse
When: 14th April to 24th April
Written and Directed by Tony Reck
Performed by Ange Arabatzis, Lucia Brancatisano, Willow Conway, Nick Stribakos
Sound Design by Hugo Race
Lighting Design by Matt Barber
Dirty Pictures is a bold depiction of a mix of the seedy, sleazy and penurious existence of individuals in our society – maybe it’s their chosen reality or maybe there was no choice. Through multimedia and silent acting, images are projected and communicated clearly and unflinchingly. Based in Melbourne, writer and director of Dirty Pictures Tony Reck has also worked as an actor, a playwright, a producer and a theatre critic since the early 1990s.
Reck writes that Dirty Pictures …”is a play about corruption. Corruption of the self; corruption of innocence; corruption of the body, and corruption within relationships occurring within a corrupt society.” He does not hold back on the dark and bleak. And because of this he directs a play that packs a punch. It’s about the unsavoury, the deals, the force of the strong, the vulnerability of the weak, the wanting, dependency and harsh realities of the lives of the drug addict, the drug dealer, the needy girlfriend and the drug dependent prostitute. Sex, drugs, money are loosely exchanged as the characters consequently withdraw into their own world.
The great actors portray the lives of their characters with conviction against a constant mighty backdrop of projected images of a contemporary, urban landscape. The pothole and vicious circle that they are in is repeated, unchanging, whilst the technological world moves ahead in parallel to their world. “Nothing will come of nothing” the voice off speaks.
Dirty Pictures is a powerful play, with the short and sharp lines of the voice over and the audiovisual, accompanied by the mystic, haunting soundscapes by Hugo Race, it all comes together strong and stirring. Not one actor was a standout against the other; they each were equally convincingly good. I understood the monotony of the repetition as the characters are caught in a wild life that is too hard to escape and this is well represented.
I was left feeling sad for the desolate many in our society that live this very existence. It’s confronting and revealing and it’s an age-old story that should not be invisible. The message is clear and concise and I thoroughly recommend Dirty Pictures be seen and be heard.
Theatre Review by Lisa Romeo