Icarus Falling
Scott Wings @ Tuxedo Cat – Cusack Theatre
8:30pm, Sun 1 Mar 2015
Scott Wings takes to the stage, and within seconds I know I’m going to adore Icarus Falling: he has invoked the myth of Icarus, he’s used repetition in his poetry with words that conjure white clouds of wonderment in my mind, and he’s dropped an f-bomb in the perfect spot.
And then he, as Icarus, gets the audience to watch him fall.
He demands of the crowd: “Close eyes. Open! Close. Open!” as he repeatedly jumps, and the result is that everyone generates a little flicker animation of Wings falling through the air.
It’s such a simple device that I’m amazed that I haven’t seen it before… but I was left speechless, stunned by it. Those moments of Wings suspended in the air are etched into my mind now.
But Icarus falls, and we soon move into the guts of the play: the relationship between Scott and his abusive father, through the lens of Icarus and Daedalus. And whilst Daedalus tried to warn Icarus of the dangers of his hubris, Scott’s father seems… well, rather less complimentary. Less heroic. Repeated lines like “You’re father’s an arsehole” give it away.
The poems that form the text of Icarus Falling shift rhythms and styles, get broken and interrupted by each other, as it becomes clear that Icarus – Scott – is also battling depression. Lucid thoughts and tales are cut off by suicidal thoughts, and anti-suicidal thoughts… and then She enters the play, and Wings plays with Her as Icarus plays with the sky, and his words around Her are just so beautiful… How to Bottle Lightning is an absolutely gorgeous poem.
And then there’s more depression, Daedalus harshly lectures Icarus, and a strange fixation on Jon Bon Jovi’s Blaze of Glory. Bruce Willis and Michael Bay. And a tremendous Ocarina of Time reference which made my head sing, even if he blatantly explains it. And the denouement suggests that maybe the legend of Icarus is not actually about pride, or hubris, or obeying the word of your parents… maybe it’s about depression. Maybe it’s about manic depression.
It should be abundantly clear that I abso-fucking-lutely loved this show. Icarus Falling is one of those utterly amazing Fringe pieces that you just want to get everyone you know to go and see. Smart, funny, anarchic, sad, and poignant, it’s a mesmerisingly deep piece of work that just keeps giving the more you read it… and on my copy of the script, accompanied by little ninja stars and a stylised feather, Wings inscribed this:
Fringe Master Sifu, you are not grasshopper, you are tarantula. Your skills are beyond mere mortals. You are ninja. Your nightingale floors are silent. You are stealthy and shadows. You should open an academy.
And all that – plus the script within – makes me incredibly happy.
— Pete Muller (@festivalfreakAU) March 1, 2015