‘The Eisteddfod’ Hits Perth

Words: Gemma Walsh

For many of us growing up in 90’s Australia, the Rock Eisteddfod Challenge was a stalwart of the school year.

A glittery mess of interpretive dance, which was usually inspired in the “convict past” or “robot future”, with uncoordinated students being forced to follow behind the one talented dancer in the school.

So, when I saw the title of playwright Lally Katz’s theatrical debut in WA, the memories came flooding back. 

After its award-winning stint at the New York International Fringe Festival, The Eisteddfod explores a sibling’s final push to get the ultimate prize, taking out the title at their school Eisteddfod.

But don’t let the title make you think this is a toe-tapping singalong, Director Jeffrey Jay Fowler (The Last Great Hunt) says it’s a dark comedy about two orphaned siblings who use make believe to make sense of the world.

“It is a funny, incredibly dark play with cycles of familial violence, (it) looks at how the human imagination protects us, it breaks down all the walls of theatre and becomes completely absurd.”

Katz, originally from New Jersey and now based in Melbourne, is one of Australia’s most produced playwrights and TV writers, taking out the InStyle Magazine’s Women Of Style Award in the arts category in 2012. She said the darkness of the play was inspired by her own pain.

“I was writing about the stuff that was hurting me at the time as my way of understanding it.

“I would have a terrible night with a guy I was seeing in London and then I’d wake up at 5am and write a scene for The Eisteddfod. And I’d feel better.

“I was exploring the darkest things that I felt or could imagine, but I felt were part of my everyday reality and writing about them made it feel better and make sense.

“I guess I was writing the stuff that felt true and also felt funny to me.”

The Eisteddfod – Get your ticket here!

A Black Swan Lab Production

DATES 22 Jun to 09 Jul

VENUE Studio Underground

WARNING Strong adult themes, explicit language

SUITABILITY Ages 16+

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