[2009049] Toys

Toys [FringeTIX]

Tina Evans @ Fringe Factory (151 Hindley Street)

7:45pm, Sat 7 Mar 2009

It’s listed as a fifteen minute dance piece. When the capacity crowd (all of thirty people) are finally let into the venue thirty-five minutes late, I’m concerned about missing my next show. When I take my seat in the front row, however, I discover the reason for the delay: a DVD projector, integral to the performance, cacked itself – requiring a new projector be brought in. This became apparent to me when, as I parked my arse in the front row, I wound up sitting next to a Fringe employee with the replacement projector sitting on her lap, her knees held at just the right position to effect the adequate projection onto the screen at the back of the stage… and constantly fan me with hot air.

Now, the Fringe Factory at 151 Hindley is… well, intimate. Thirty people squeezed into something not much larger than a bedroom, with a “stage” that’s maybe only 2 x 4 metres. And, as the screen displays some jarring images of childrens toys and sinister shadows (with a very ocker and only somewhat creepy voiceover), Tina Evans pops onto this tiny stage. Wrapped in Gladwrap with a bubble-wrap tutu, she poses as a music-box ballerina whilst audio of an auction is played… this is an auction for her.

Toys is completely focussed on one thing: the selling of children into the sex trade. The audio is unnerving, the video a collage of innocent and diabolical snippets, Evans’ movements perfunctory… up until she drops to the floor (well below the sightline of most of the audience), screaming and convulsing and clawing.

And then it hits you: you’re watching a child rape scene. Child Rape. By Men. Lots of Men.

And that’s pretty fucked up. The mind takes these images and runs with them, and it’s horrible. It sticks and gnaws and then dwells, forcing the brain to reconcile image and explained fact. And when Evans eventually struggles away from the scene, curls up into a ball, and starts singing of all her assailants to the tune of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”, it’s a chilling moment, an eerie moment.

So it’s all very thought-provoking and meaningful and serious, and undoubtedly brings light to a horrible issue; but, having mulled on the issue during the performance, as I dashed to my next show my brain was constantly wondering how the fuck does this make money for the artist? It was only on for three performances; it only costs $5; and a capacity crowd is thirty. Let’s say a third of those people also buy the $2 program. Thus, Evans can only gross a maximum of $510 for the entire season; how is this going to keep an artist – a worthwhile artist with something to say – fed?

4 thoughts on “[2009049] Toys”

  1. LOL ha, ha, haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!! You have to be kidding right? Fed??? Very few make money from the Fringe, let alone enough to keep self in food and shelter. I suspect Ms Evans does this because she just has that compulsion driving her on, she has to, she simply has to. The Fringe has become all about comedy, and they are the ones who make money. No doubt tastes will change and perhaps people like Tina will be able to consider the fact that their contribution to the Arts might allow them the luxury of earning a reasonable stipend so they don’t have to slave away as a waitress, casual ticket seller, bar person, office temp etc. etc. Until that day, well, we all do the best we can….and do what we feel compelled to do, perform for those who honour us with their presence as our audience…however small. :)

  2. Heh – sorry. You have to remember that I come from a salaryman point of view :}

    And let me just add that I really, truly appreciate everything all you arty people do. That’s why I see all these shows – to experience the creativity that you all possess that I lack. That’s why I pay for every single ticket out of my own pocket – so that, hopefully, a portion of coin makes it into your pocket to hopefully convince you that it’s still worth doing :)

  3. Wish there were more like you out there! I can see that you do appreciate it..100 shows (?!) Wow! That’s impressive.

    We don’t “do it for the money” but there are days when I just wish I could bin the day job and just produce and perform. I don’t want to be rich, I’d just like to earn enough to keep body and soul together doing what I do naturally, instead of slaving away in an office. Hey ho! I’ll get over the grump and get on with planning the coming year/s.

    Thanks for this site, it’s really good to get the point of view of a Festival Freak (do you ever go to the theatre at other times of year or does Fringe send you broke??) :)

  4. Oh, it sends me “broke” alright – broke in the head ;)

    See, this is why I don’t like calling my posts “reviews” – because at this stage, I know I’m burnt out, I know I’ve lost any sense of objectivity – any shows I see this late in the piece are almost certainly going to get unfairly treated. So all I can do is post about the experience.

    As for theatre (or, in fact, anything outside the house) during the non-Fringe times of year… very, very rarely. This is my binge time.

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