Perpetual Frustration Machine photo Jodie Hutchinson

“Perpetual Frustration Machine”

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Theatre Works presents:

Perpetual Frustration Machine

By Stephen Sewell & Zebastian Hunter

This review by Anna Bukchin and Emma Stephens, LivingNow team members. The show will run at Theatre Works December 7th–23rd 2018.

Anna Bukchin: 

The world’s premiere of Perpetual Frustration Machine brilliantly confronted a full room of viewers last Saturday night, December 8th. What a spectacular tragedy!

Perpetual Frustration Machine. Photos by Jodie Hutchinson.

Perpetual Frustration Machine. Photo by Jodie Hutchinson.

Perpetual Frustration Machine was, as promised, a raw thrust into the human drives of our desires. Using gripping text, incredible circus performance and dance elements, co-creators Stephen Sewell and Zebastian Hunter explored the space between hope and death. The trap of life.

Performed by four talented circus artists (Debra Batton, Stephanie Benson, Seth Scheuner and Adam O’connor), the play discussed all aspects of human desire and ‘the drive’, which is the vehicle that both destroys us and at the same time is the only thing which is real.

No sugar coating

When you get to see the show, don’t expect any sugar coating or clichés. Perpetual Frustration Machine throws everything at you! From the grand idea of ‘humanity consuming itself’ to the domestic mundane of ‘failing happiness’, through social media and even Tinder. The sound of walking on broken glass. The view of daring body work. And the comical, poignant and poetic language will be sure to leave you amazed.

What may sound like a very depressing hour, to me, was actually an honest, moving representation of life the way it is. The crowd was left so captivated that Theatre Works staff had to enter the room and announce the end of the show, comforting us with some oysters and drinks. No wonder… it was one hell of a ride!

Nonetheless, I was coming out of the theatre with a heart-warming relief and compassion towards the impossibility of existence. The show left me full, like any good tragedy should.

Thank you to the creators, performers, behind the scenes crew and the Theatre Works team for a well done night!

Perpetual Frustration Machine will be playing at Theatre Works on 14 Acland Street, St Kilda until December 23rd. Hurry up to book your ticket here: http://www.theatreworks.org.au/program/perpetual-frustration-machine/

Perpetual Frustration Machine photo by Jodie Hutchinson

Perpetual Frustration Machine. Photo by Jodie Hutchinson.

Emma Stephens:

I saw the show on Sunday. As well as all that Anna has described, I think the aspect that captivated me most was the skill of putting all that intense emotion into physicality.

The spectacle of it was fantastic and beautiful. The artistic impact is resounding.

In some ways I found the Perpetual Frustration Machine hard to watch, because it stirred in me feelings of immense frustration; therefore, a very well portrayed piece! There were so many physical spectacles to be the vehicles for these vast emotions – very well captured. “Join us as we seek release from this ecstatic prison of our own making”.

Featuring a startling array of acts!

Glass Walking, Handstands, Contortion, Acrobatics, Aerial Hoop, Roue Cyr, Dart Throwing, Table Slides, Juggling and more! All used to express the extreme depths of our modern affliction.

Co-creators, Stephen Sewell (AFI Award Winner, Head of Writing, NIDA) and Zebastian Hunter, have imagined a circus drama inspired by the seminal works of psychoanalyst and philosopher, Jacques Lacan, particularly his relationship to the Death Drive.

Hunter and Sewell are joined by some of Australia’s leading theatrical creatives including associate director Benjamin Sheen (Assistant Director – STC, MTC and Opera Australia) and lighting designer Richard Vabre (Circus Oz, MTC, Malthouse, NICA), alongside some of Hunter’s regular collaborators. Set & costume designer Stephanie Howe (Production Design, Griffin Theatre Company) and Ian Moorhead (Sound Designer – MTC, Malthouse, ADT). Production manager: Steph Cox. Production manager/rigger/set builder: Wayne Appleton.

Perpetual Frustration Machine photos by Emma Stephens

Perpetual Frustration Machine photo by Emma Stephens

The cast includes legendary physical theatre visionary Debra Batton (Legs on the Wall, Circus Oz, A Good Catch) following an acclaimed season at Edinburgh Fringe Festival. It also features some of Australia’s brightest circus performers including Adam O’Connor-McMahon (Perth International Arts Festival, Strut n Fret, Maximaa), Seth Scheuner (Circa, Ecole Nationale De Cirque, Flying Fruit Fly Circus) and Stephanie Benson (Feed the Horse, NICA).

60 minutes, no interval.

Tickets: $45 Adult / $37 Concession / $33 Preview / $15 Student Rush  http://www.theatreworks.org.au/program/perpetual-frustration-machine/

Latecomers will not be permitted into the performance. There is a complete lockout once the show has commenced.

WARNINGS: Adult themes | simulated violence

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