Everything you’ve heard about The Truth About Kookaburras is true. Yes, the cast is over twenty in number. Yes, most of these are men. Yes, almost all of these men appear naked in the first twenty minutes of the show – unashamedly, fully naked. In short, (seriously no pun intended) you get a wrestling wall of penis. And it’s not fleeting. They are touched, fondled, squashed, flicked, twirled and shoved into faces.
It’s good fun. It would be unsettling or slightly weird if perceptions of masculinity weren’t at the absolute core of Sven Swenson’s play. Which they are. Swenson has written, directed (and even features in) this memorable play, which had its first outing back in 2009 at Metro Arts Independents. The Kookbaurras are a fictional Gold Coast footy team, who come under fire when one of the members is killed in their locker room on the evening of a buck’s party. Most of the play unfolds in parallel timelines: the investigation of the murder, and the night it happened. This has some of the structure of a classic whodunnit, but there’s a lot more going on here. Continue reading Review: The Truth About Kookaburras – Pentimento Productions & La Boite Indie at The Round House Theatre
I’ve known Sven Swenson and admired his work since 1996, the year his first play Vertigo and the Virginia workshopped for Queensland Theatre Company. Since then Sven’s completed 15 plays, but he notes there are 33 others “in various stages of disrepair.” His latest work, The Bitterling premieres next week as the opening production of the inaugural La Boite Indie program; ‘opening’ and ‘inaugural’ – a lot of firsts, and a lot of expectations. He’s writer and director.
He tells me, “We know we are the indie guinea-pigs, we’re all keenly aware of this. There is constant dialogue between the participants and La Boite, who are extremely supportive and available. They have a genuine and profound desire to see good indie theatre develop.” He goes on, “There’s a real air of excitement right now, and it’s helping us to create at our best.”
I’m glad to catch up with Sven, one of Brisbane’s most prolific and also proudly parochial writers. I want to know more about the inaugural winner (2002) for Road to the She Devil’s Salon and then finalist (2008) of the prestigious Queensland Premier’s Drama Award. His play Beautiful Souls was produced Off-Broadway (2007) and also in Los Angeles. Among other things we talk about beginnings, influences, how he works, and the local theatre scene. He has a few surprises for me along the way. Continue reading Conversation with the audience: Sven Swenson (Interview 4)