No doubt, there are those who make an annual pilgrimage to ATYP’s Intersection showcase to get an early drop on emerging playwriting talent.
Perhaps others come to see what “the kids” are talking about. The Intersection series addresses what it is to be 17 in Australia, right now.
But Arrival also has plenty of appeal for a general audience looking for entertaining theatre. It’s fast-paced, diverse, warmly funny and very well performed.
Tightly knitted together by director Sophie Kelly into a straight-through 90 minutes, 10 writers focus on issues of sex and sexual identity, independence, romance, self-doubt, isolation and resilience.
In one playlet, a teenager flees the city to join a relocation program for the terminally embarrassed. After being busted watching stepmom-themed Internet porn, his only option is to have the world believe he’s dead.
Elsewhere, siblings argue over what to do with the corpse of the dog they’ve just run over and Catholic schoolgirls talk masturbation in a takeaway shop. In one play, school friends discussing their first kiss find themselves in an awkward clinch. In another (Brooke Murray’s Pink Soap), two teenagers, Ari and Bo, unpack a rumour going around school that a trans student, “green pants”, has used a gender affirming bathroom for the first time.
The production is a necessarily uncomplicated one with mobile scaffolding units (Tyler Hawkins is the designer) used to good effect. Kelly has cast a choreographic eye over the transitions and stoppage time is minimal.
While each play’s time in the spotlight is too brief to make anything more than a glancing impact, the sum of the parts is considerably entertaining and this young to young-ish ensemble (16-23) is notably good. All get room to shine but Toby Blome, a natural clown, is perfectly cast as the boy entering porn-related self-exile and Sophie Stykowski and Teodora Avramovic are effortlessly funny as the Catholic schoolgirls.