With marriage equality being a hot topic at the moment, a local theatre company has decided to open the conversation further.
Adapt Enterprises launch their season of David Williamson’s The Perfectionist this weekend; a play about unconventional relationships, with themes of love, competitiveness and feminism.
Adelaide entertainer, host, comedian, actor and producer Ross Vosvotekas is bringing us the show, which he hopes will strike a chord with audiences.
“The play is about marriage equality and it’s set in the seventies. The first half of the play is in Denmark and the second half is in Australia. The main character, Barbara wants to have an open marriage, and her husband, Stuart (who I play), has to deal with that. The plot involves a love triangle with Eric the Danish babysitter, Barbara and Stuart. The other two characters are Stuart’s parents,” he says.
“The appeal of this show is that it’s about marriage, relationships and love, and these issues are timeless. With marriage equality being a poignant issue at the moment, the play is still relevant; not only in the broad sense of marriage and trust, but directly in terms of marriage equality. It appeals to a range of people, whether they’re married or in relationships, or even those thinking of it. I think anyone who comes to see it will be able to relate to it in some way.”
Williamson’s The Perfectionist premiered in 1981, and a tele-movie of the play was produced and aired in 1985.
Ross says the idea of an open marriage, while a controversial topic, was one that sparked much conversation over the rehearsal period of the play.
“[Open marriage] is definitely an interesting idea. I think it was more plausible in the seventies and in the wake of the sixties,” he says.
“But having said that, talking a lot about marriage equality in the past couple of months, people tell me about people they know who entertained the idea of an open marriage, and the man would go off and have sex with other women, but when the woman started doing it, the man got jealous and said they couldn’t do it anymore. So, I think it could potentially work if two people had the right personalities and a certain understanding, but in the scheme of things, humans get jealous and there’s lots of emotions there.”
The Perfectionist explores the pros and cons of such a relationship, but, as is Williamson’s way, the piece also deals with a whole range of other questions.
“I don’t want to give away the play, but it explores the themes of trust and competitiveness in marriage, and there’s also a sideline theme of alcoholism. There’s also a thing about capitalism versus socialism; feminism is explored, and there’s also a separate plot line of Stuart trying to gain approval from his parents,” says Ross.
“Basically it’s a period piece and shows a slice of life of Australia and Denmark in the seventies. I think people will be able to apply their own message from it and apply it to their own lives and relationships.”
The small cast are performing at The Bakehouse Theatre, and Ross is thrilled to be working in the iconic Adelaide venue with a group of accomplished actors.
“This is the third show I’ve produced at Bakehouse. I love the venue and I love dealing with Pam, who is very pro-Adelaide theatre. It’s a great little space. The first show I did there was in 2007, and it was a show called Queen, which I wrote, and then I did This Old Man Comes Rolling Home in 2013 and now I’m back with The Perfectionist,” he says.
“The play stars Cheryl Douglas as Barbara. I’ve worked with Cheryl before, and she’s a fantastic local actor. The Danish babysitter Eric is played by Chris Knight, who is a local comedian. It’s a different role for Chris. He’s used to doing funny stuff, but this is a more dramatic part for him. The other two actors are Rick Mills and Kim York.”
Ross plays Stuart, and is also directing, producing, and running the Adapt Enterprises, which is no small feat, but he says his one man show is a team effort.
“Directing, producing and acting is a definite challenge, but I have been doing this kind of thing for over ten years now. I either write and direct, if it’s an original show; or direct and act. My style is collaborative, so I like actors to have input, and I have friends come in to give feedback as well,” he says.
“We’ve been working on this very slowly for about five months. I’ve been rehearsing it once a week since Fringe. We rehearse at the Cranka on Tuesdays before I do my comedy show. They’re a great local cast and I really can’t wait to get into the theatre and do this show for people as an ensemble.”
The Perfectionist is showing at Bakehouse Theatre from 24th July until August 8th. Read our review here.
WHAT: David Williamson’s The Perfectionist
WHERE: Bakehouse Theatre, 255 Angas Street, Adelaide
WHEN: July 24th & 25th, 29th – 31st + August 1st, 5th – 8th (Duration: approx. 2 hours)
HOW MUCH? $20
By Libby Parker