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Last updated on August 5th, 2017 at 08:19 am
It’s another challenging, brave, provocative, heroic, dissenting play:
A school assignment asks students to name a contemporary hero who is prepared to give up personal wealth for what he believes in and is inspirational to many people.
This is the opening premise for the prize-winning play Osama the Hero by English playwright Dennis Kelly, who wrote it soon after the invasion of Iraq.
And immediately after filtering four bottles of Chateau Idiot into his gob through wadded-up Robert Fisk columns, by the looks of things:
“It’s a deliberately provocative title designed to shock us into action,” says the play’s director, Syd Brisbane. “Dissent about what’s happening is hard to find. You need strength and purpose to keep the debate moving forward.”
What action might that be, Syd? The action of going to see a play?
The play functions as a microcosm of the world after the terrorist strikes on New York and Washington, with violence now much more paramount.
Because of the, ahem, hero.
Gary, played by Xavier Samuel, is the student who believes in honesty and names Osama bin Laden as his modern hero. This results in him being seized by people from the housing estate where he lives, and bound and gagged.
They didn’t even kill him … as Osama’s henchmunchkins killed nearly 3,000 people. They could have at least given him some box-cutter throat action, hero style.
The playwright, whose earlier play Debris was performed in Melbourne last year, described Osama as a “brutal play” that expressed his own confusion about the state of the world.
A psychopath’s muppets murder thousands – and the playwright is confused.
Brisbane says it is quite political …
You don’t say.
Osama is the first production by a new ensemble, The Rabble, made up of Brisbane and two other directors, Emma Valente, who is production manager on Osama, and Kate Davis, and supported by La Mama.
“I think the fact that we are all directors gives us a different slant to other independent groups,” Valente says. “We understand what it takes to be provocative.”
Not even close. A play titled “Where’s My Koran? Oh, It’s In Emma Valente’s Toilet!”; that would be provocative. So, how has the theatre world coped with this rebellious work?
It won Britain’s $20,000 Meyer-Whitworth award last November, after its first Australian production in Sydney.
UPDATE. James Lileks:
The play is described as “provocative.” Naturally. There’s no finer word in the modern artist’s lexicon.
Click for further Lileksian gold.