THEATRE – OZ ASIA – Skin – Maj Gallery – 4.5K

skin-terryandthecuz-2000x640By Peter Maddern

Unplanned refugee migration is a global issue and it seems no self-respecting arts festival can look its patrons in the eye without tackling the issue – albeit usually by ramming some ‘correct’ position down their throats.

Malaysia’s TerryandtheCuz is the force behind OzAsia’s contribution, drawing on the people smuggling aspects of their own country where refugees are treated the same under the law as illegal immigrants, thus making them vulnerable to sub-human exploitation.

This immersive and participatory theatre starts for patrons with demands on them to sign documents, waive rights and give up their chattels. Interrogation follows where people are separated, it seems, on the basis of whether they are ‘lifters or leaners’(my language), the latter then subjected to further humiliations before all are herded into a packing container to witness a dance movement. To provide more detail may constitute spoiling the experience for the future but one feels it necessary to say that the spectre of the Jewish holocaust at this juncture is enough to send a shiver up the spines of any smart arse attendee.

ozasia-2016-900x600To describe this as superb and moving theatre is to perhaps understate its potential impact. To leave the lifters in the dark about their whereabouts of their fellow travellers while enjoying the fruits of being ‘the carers who can make a difference’ (their language) is as unsettling a way to finish a performance as any I have been to.

Brave, (no doubt mighty expensive to stage), but highly rewarding, Skin embraces what it means to reach the boundary of our existence. Surely, the highlight of this year’s OzAsia.


Kryztoff Rating  4.5K

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