Self-esteem, sex, loneliness, body image, the pressure to conform, the desire to be different.
The themes bubbling in this year’s Intersection (formerly The Voices Project) showcase of emerging writers have been covered in previous editions, but this still feels surprisingly fresh. To my ears at least, it also seems a few degrees more upbeat in terms of overall mood.
The opening monologue sets the tone, tuning the audience in to the thoughts of a young woman nervously waiting for her date to show up. It’s their third encounter and this one, she’s sure, will have to end in sex. For her, it will be the first time.
Very funny, very frank and delivered in a perfect rush by Margaret Thanos, one of a versatile eight-member ensemble, it’s an early highlight in this entertaining mosaic of what it is to live in an Australian regional town.
Taking the audience on a tour of the sights (from Baker’s Delight to the local tip) some pieces don’t feel quite so immediate or truthfully grounded as that opening statement but the overall quality of the writing is high and the performances are uniformly strong. Director Rachel Chant stitches the program together with an emphasis on vibrancy, pace and sharp transitions – the latter much helped by Tyler Ray Hawkins’ layered design.
Everyone will come away with a different list of hits and misses but I’d be willing to wager that the sweetly funny scene of two young guys (played by Jeremi Campesi and Ben Tarlinton) fumbling toward their first kiss will be high on the People’s Choice award.