Separating The Dust
'Dust' storms into Kyneton.
Date Published: 18/05/2014
Format: Paperback Book
Newspaper: Midland Express
Dated: Tuesday, 10 August 2010
Written by: Jeff Jones
Headline: 'Dust' storms into Kyneton
Controversial play, Separating The Dust finally made its debut in Kyneton when it opened the Short and Sweet program on Friday night.
The one-act play, presented by the Kyneton-based Cosmic Players company, has been the centre of a storm since it was rejected by the Kyneton Daffodil and Arts Festival Committee for being too racy. The Monash One Act Play Festival has also rejected the play on similiar grounds.
A small but appreciative audience turned out to Kyneton Town Hall last Friday night to see what all the fuss was about. The play is set after the funeral service for Virginia Cromwell, with sons Michael (Aston Elliott) and Chad (Stephen Mitchell) discussing her will.
The will is to be split equally between the two men but the drama cranks up when Chad announces he will contest the will to get 'lions share'. As Michael refuses to back down, Chad's wife, Raelene (Ingrid Gang) makes her true feelings known about Michael, which only aggravates the underflow of smouldering hatred between the three of them.
Playwright Darren Brealey throws in several adult themes - Michael is gay and Chad and Ingrid both loathe homosexuality. There is also plenty of physical violence, the hint of incest and several scenes are only a breath away from simulated sex on stage.
It is understandable why some committees on the one-act play circuit have rejected the play for being too hot and it is totally within their rights to do so. Brealey argues that audiences should be allowed to make up their own minds.
Above all else, Separating The Dust is a superbly written, powerful drama with several excellent performances.
Mitchell plays the 'man's man' Chad with great intensity and steadily builds his performance. At the height of his rage, Mitchell is extremely believable.
Elliott is just as strong, beautifully underplaying the role early on, as if provoking and niggling at Chad for a bite. When the big brother snaps, Elliott dissolves into a fearful, whimpering mess begging for his life.
Gang gave solid support, delivering the necessary venom and disdain but I believe could have injected even more bitchiness and disgust.
Brealey, who also directed the play, had the characters constantly circling each other with great effect. It was as if they were waiting to pounce or trying to escape.
But I felt the play needed more light and shade to give the characters greater depth and the audience some relief. The set could have done with more detail (a few plates of leftover sandwiches or cakes and empty beer cans to better reflect the wake); and clear plastic glasses (not coloured tumblers please). A more authentic looking gun would have been less distracting.
All in all the Cosmic Players were well received and they should be encouraged to grow and to continue presenting cutting edge theatre.
"Separating The Dust is a superbly written, powerful drama with several excellent performances"