Garnet Station Café, 85 Garnet Rd, Westmere, Auckland

02/03/2017 - 05/03/2017

Auckland Fringe 2017

Production Details

A tornado in slow motion and the best years of your life are sometimes the same thing.  

Instant gratification, fluid identities, and no clear path – what does it mean to exist in the liminal space between childhood and adulthood today?

The sunlight liquid collective debut show thrusts us inside a mercurial world where the walls move, expectations throb and failure is inevitable.

“Everyone has an opinion about the millennials. While every generation has their struggles, it’s true, we like to think we’re special. Personal Malfunction is a timely exploration of the twenty-something crisis that has particular urgency for those going through it right now. Through theatre, these experiences will resonate across the generations.” – James Wenley (Theatre scenes)

Garnet Station
2 – 5 March 2017
7pm (2nd – 4th)
4pm (5th)
$15 – $20
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Adult Themes
Partial nudity

Theatre ,

1 hr

Abstract Expressionist Millennial crises

Review by Nik Smythe 03rd Mar 2017

An audience of twenty-something, appropriately enough, lines the walls of Garnet Station’s petite theatre space.  A waifish young woman (Chye-Ling Huang) enters strumming a ukelele and singing a wistful song about how she’d hoped her life would be sorted out by now.

Suddenly her friends crash through and a raging party ensues behind the upstage curtain.  Next we’re led outside to observe a man (Andrew Gunn) take a bath, ironically lamenting his privileged status as a ‘bo-bo’ – bourgeois bohemian.  This intriguingly awkward vignette is cut short and we’re relocated again to witness the exponential interrogation of sports celebrity Sarah (Natasha Daniel) being quizzed on everything from her education and political leanings to her emotional stability and sex life.

In this manner each scene succeeds and/or subverts the previous one to illustrate another aspect of what it means to be a young adult today, culminating in an ingeniously absurd episode involving friends catching up over a glass or so of water.

Concept creator and director Georgie Silk has devised an entertainingly abstract theatrical deconstruction of the dilemmas, conflicts and social mores of the millennial generation with dramaturge James Wenley and their adept, spunky young cast (Huang, Gunn, Daniel, Katie Burson and Mikaela Rüegg). 

So do today’s twenty-somethings face more judgment, pressure and competition than previous generations did?  It’s quite feasible given rising populations, increasing income gaps between the classes and unprecedented degrees of data collected for evaluation and marketing purposes.

Put simply, there’s more bullshit than ever in the world to strive and succeed in spite of.  Personal Malfunction offers no suggestions or solutions to the problems experienced under these circumstances; it’s simply a medley of impulsive, wry, frequently comical expressions of the psychological tensions that pester the players’ reality.

To a past-it gen-X fogey like myself there are stylistic echoes of the early days of Inside Out Theatre, who were devising similarly mercurial pieces since before these whippersnappers were even born.  It may well seem pretentious to anyone who objects to concepts and narratives being anything less than straightforward, but for me, whether or not I properly understand it the way they mean it, these abstract expressionist millennial crises are supported by an underlying sense of truth.

Actual truth, that is; not the truthiness, post-truth or alternative facts that define the frankly absurd socio-political climate within which they’re poised to reach full maturity. 


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