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March 12, 2007 | by  | in Theatre | [ssba]

Fight or Flight

Devised by Gene Alexander, Nathalie Boltt, Mel Dodge and Robyn Paterson
Directed by Harriette Cowan
BATS, March 2 – 10

Fight or Flight explores the lives of four characters whose lives coincide as they wait for their plane to take off: Karen (Nathalie Boltt), an efficient, no-nonsense data collector; Melissa (Robyn Paterson), a giggly, hippie backpacker; Lauren (Mel Dodge), an annoyingly smug real estate agent; and Phillip (Gene Alexander), a super smooth airline steward. The setting is a tool for exploring fear, and our fear of it. The rocky exteriors of the characters slowly dissipate as they are faced with the possibility of their plane being a terrorist target as they wait for passenger Mohammed to board, his luggage having already been checked on.

The first part of the play, which is basically exposition, has some hilarious moments: Paterson’s character here is a highlight, full of ridiculous stories, travel taro, and tales of her unlucky undies. The use of recorded voiceovers as the inner monologues of the characters coping with the awkwardness of being stuck on a plane with strangers works well. However, the first section feels very slow, constrained by the fact that the scene can’t move from within the confines of the plane.

The play then moves into surrealistic scenes dealing with the fears of these characters and their pasts. Karen’s fear is her inability to cope with lack of humanity in the world that she reads about in the newspapers. This “fear” was represented innovatively – through a rhyming rhythmic poem about Karen eating the newspaper to “kill” the stories.

The other characters’ fears and histories are presented in not quite so innovative terms – Phillip’s guilt over telling his girlfriend to ‘fuck off and die,’ which she unfortunately proceeds to do, is manifested as a room of voices questioning him about his actions.

Fight or Flight
scratches the surface of some highly interesting characters, but I wanted to go deeper. However, it is a very entertaining show, and the opening night audience loved the highly modern, easily identifiable characters.


About the Author ()

Well hello there. Eleanor was the Theatre Editor in 2007, now she writes the Women's Column and just generally minces about the Salient office. Eleanor is currently an Honours student in Theatre (with a touch of gender). She also has a BCA in Marketing but she tries to keep that on the d-low (embarrassing, because she loves academic integrity and also perpetuating the myth that she's a tad bohemian). If you've got a gender agenda, woo her by taking her a BYO Malaysian. She lies, if you show any interest at all she'll probably tackle you in the street and force you to write a column.

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