Gender does matter

KEEPING up with Fremantle artist Bello Benischauer requires mental gymnastics as he jumps from topic to topic, leaping between past, current and future works.

Meeting at his atmospheric studio in the Fremantle Arts Centre, the Austrian-born artist barely kept still as he enthused about Three Secrets, a play produced by his experimental theatre company.

“Three characters touch on issues concerning their gender, expressing how they deal with pain, self-doubts and fragility caused by societal and cultural standards whilst remembering their childhood,” he says.

Benischauer wrote and directed the play and his partner Elisabeth Eitelberger was his dramaturge.

Actors Helah Milroy, Nathalie Boukpeti and Aska Siragusa share their character’s secrets with the audience as Mrs Woodmillars, Miss Good and Mr Love.

Woodmillars’ parents were alcoholics and so is her abusive husband.

“Starting to question her long forgotten ambitions, she tries to get rid of feeling responsible
for the fate of others,” Benischauer says.

Good is troubled and wonders why she feels so different from others, while Love has lived with his mother all his life but is now alone, “and unloved, not knowing how to face daily hurdles.”

Audience members are invited to sit, or move around for different perspectives, Benischauer says.

“Regardless of being seated as a spectator on the sides, or choosing to be in the middle of the action around you with overlapping monologues, everyone in the audience gets a different close-up story to take home.”

The play will be followed by a vegetarian meal, which Benischauer hopes will further break down barriers “as people start talking to each other about how they felt; what buttons it pushed.”

Three Secrets is on at the Pakenham Street Art Space, June 15 and 22, and at the Subiaco Arts Centre, June 27 and 28.

Tickets at ticketbooth.com.au

by JENNY D’ANGER

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