Performed by the WA Youth Theatre Company
PICA until February 17
Years ago I delighted in Spike Milligan’s hilarious, surreal The World of Beachcomber (now, tragically, all but destroyed or lost).
One recurring skit had the great Spike attempting to prove old sayings – for example by rolling a large stone down a hillside to see if it gathered any moss.
There’s something of Ockham’s Razor in James Berlyn’s yourseven as well. Even more ambitiously, it plays out Jacques’s famous “Seven Ages of Man” speech from As You Like It by promenading its one-at-a-time audience through each of them, from cradle to grave, in the safe hands of members of the WA Youth Theatre Company.
The show is more an instillation than a performance, but that doesn’t limit its appeal or its insight into the sprit of Shakespeare’s exposure of the human condition.
In turn I became a babe in swaddling cloth, gently rocked by my unseen nurse; a schoolboy (class of ’62) with my chalk and blackboard; a lover, pining over my youthful crush (Julie Christie as it transpires); a soldier surveying the field of imminent battle; then a bellyful magistrate, weighing life’s priorities on the scales; then an aged, shrinking pensioner; and, finally, here at the end, everything used, wasted and gone.
If I have any criticism, it would be of the final tableaux, which, cleverly enough, had me pulling out lengths of string to represent my life and seeing them cut, as if by Atropos, the Greek Fate who decided mortals’ time of death.
Somehow that was too euphemistic a departure for the real horror Shakespeare saw – sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.
That aside, Berlyn and WAYTC have fashioned a tantalizing look inside these famous words, and an entertaining journey through them for their audience.