Friday, September 04, 2009

Mal and Media Dragon invaded the old Stables in Sydney. However Paul Niemand is that most familiar of figures in today's world: the middle-aged middle manager in crisis. Too old to change, too scared to quit and subject to endless self-appraisal sessions by hyped-up junior executives, he retreats into the permafrost of his past: a lonely childhood; memories of his father, a dangerously incompetent air-traffic controller; a cat freezing to death in a canal.

He protests passive-aggressively, deliberately running late for business flights. Hearing his name being called over an airport PA gives him a sense of being present in a world that has no need of him. In uneasy dreams his car parks itself. In nightmares he stalks ''losers'' through a shopping mall with a gun.

The German playwright Falk Richter presents us with an image of contemporary society leached of human feeling and relentlessly focused on consumption. It's a bleak assessment of the world we live in, but Richter is a satirist as much as he is a Cassandra. Under Ice is shot through with absurd humour and playful send-ups of human resources double-speak. (''Energise others with blue sky thinking'', ''Have a concept, make the client the hero of your narrative'') In the boardroom-centred world of Under Ice there is no love, only productivity

Under Cold River is also shot through with absurd humour and strange ism-send-ups of communist resources double-speak Under Cold River