A Hoax

2 Aug

There are two types of play – the ones journalists like, and the good ones.

Journalists like the unusual, the uncommon, the bizarre, the perverse.

The other type of play – the good play (or while I’m being facetious, the type of play liked by good people) – the other type of play is about everyday struggles and the magic found in the mundane. It is about the audience.

Journalists like the angle. The aberration they call a story. Let me give an example; “Journalist finds angle” is not a story because it’s what always happens. “Journalist displays depth” would be a story.

By ‘journalists’ I don’t mean career journalists. There are many eking out a living in the media who aren’t journalists by habit. And there are many of that habit who aren’t paid at all, except in the ever decreasing wages of titillation and cynicism.

Rick Verde’s play A Hoax is funny and engaging. Director Lee Lewis elicits wonderful performances from her entire cast.

But is it just a ‘journalist’s’ play? It tells the story of a fabricated memoir. And the story of those who turn a blind eye to that fabrication in order to profit from it.

These are journalistic concerns. They titillate the audience, feed its cynicism and then can be dismissed. “Nothing to touch me here.”

Or is there?

Telling a fabricated version of a life is not so uncommon. We all do it – as we build our sense of who we are. [Reading this post didn’t you consider whether you’re a ‘journalist’ or not?]

And in regards to profiting from stories, everyone can ask themselves “Why do I bother communicating?” Why do I write? Why do I speak?

“I’m only being honest,” says the bully, with that little “only” the clue that honesty is hardly her purpose.

It is naïve to think we communicate primarily to tell the truth. “Pass the salt” is far more typical, and meaningful, than “That is the salt”. Truth maybe crucial but it is always secondary. We speak, we write, to impact on the world. Sometimes we simply want more of its money. Sadder still, sometimes all we want is the approval of others.

But we can speak to make the world better. And play that reminds us of this is a good play.

Veronica Kaye

A Hoax

at Griffin til Sept 1

http://www.griffintheatre.com.au/

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