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SYN Nation

Review: Fucking Parasites

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Content warning: contains swearing.

Review by Ebony Beaton

Fucking Parasites directed by Adam J A Cass, is a grim look into the world of two teenage girls who are imprisoned in an immigration processing centre and waiting to find out if they have been granted refugee status after fleeing from their homelands with their parents. They spend their time playing and parodying adults in their lives, such as nurses, their parents and lawyers.

It is written by Swedish playwright Ninna Tersman, she wrote it about 10 years ago and was inspired by her experience in Sweden with refugees as well has her experiences while traveling New Zealand, and is based on interviews with asylum seekers, refugees, migration board officers, lawyers, doctors and policemen both in New Zealand and Sweden.

I really enjoyed Adam J A Cass’s and this casts interpretation of this text. The set was quite abstract and stark, pastel blue boxes as rooms with small passages ways to each painted on the floor, with furniture and objects in the space being made of Lego-like blocks, and four hanging fluorescent light blubs hanging from the roof. Lots of the props including water and medication were made of Lego which I thought was a very beautiful idea. There was an eerie drone through the whole piece, stopping at different times, creating a moment of intense alertness and tenseness. This all added so much and really spoke to the piece in an interesting way. Weather it was intentional or not the sound scape made the piece feel longer than it was, I wonder if this element was intentionally woven into this piece, to make the audience feel more immersed and speak more deeply to the idea of waiting for asylum, the sound was created by one of the Actors Elizabeth Esguerra. The script was very sombre and does not give the audience the happy ending they want, I felt leaving the play very hard because we did not achieve resolution, but perhaps that was the effect the playwright wanted.

Elizabeth Esguerra and Asha Khan both performed well and matched each other’s energy. Adam J A Cass’s direction and interpretation of the script was simple and clean, and very immersive and consuming.

Fucking Parasites opened the day after the Papua New Guinea Prime minister announced that the detention centre on Manus island was unconstitutional and that the Australian government must make other arrangements for 850 asylum seekers, much like the characters in this play, their fate still unknown. I don’t know if this play can change the views of people who disagree with bringing and settling asylum seekers in Australia, but at the very least I hope it can spark a conversation.

Fucking Parasites is showing until May 8th at La Mama Theatre, Carlton.

 

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