Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 29, No. 2. 1966.
Downstage delight — No Play For Chaste Papers!
No Play For Chaste Papers!
You'll Come To Love Your Sperm Test, announced in our more chaste papers as You'll Come To Love It, spurted into life on Monday 7th at Downstage.
John Antrobus, who wrote it, has called it "Pop Theatre," and, like the Pop art to which it is related, it destroys.
It sucks up fragments of our civilisation like a vacuum cleaner to spew them back in an agglomeration of absurdities. Illogic attacks illogic, puns itself off the stage and belches at the audience as it disappears.
It is anti-everything, even itself; it laughs at everything, even itself; it abuses everything, especially itself. It is a mole-hill consciously posing as a monument to the vast dirty joke of modern life.
Consciousness is the essence of this genre. The consciously weak pun, like the consciously filthy joke, is part of mimicry that makes its point by self-mockery. The audience are involved physically —the players cavort amongst them and chat to them—and intellectually and morally for they lack an actor-spokesman, a dramatic standpoint, even a benevolent and controlling lucidity with which they can associate themselves. There can be no comfortable alliance with "standards" for nowhere do these appear; the play shares the chaos and corniness which it attacks.
Every joke, then, may have two targets, one of them the joker himself. The other ranges from the Home Life of Our Dear Queen, to the queen life of our dear home.
Ridicule is successively directed at the medical profession, police force, birth, copulation and death, artists, writers, underwriters, underpants—you free associate it, they've got it. The mockery, though random, is in sum devasating.
The pace, both verbally and physically, is fantastic. The characters are never still, never quiet, but constantly adopt new voices, new postures, new hats.
They strike new attitudes, bully, cajole, and curse. And the present production never lags. Michael Woolf must specially be mentioned for a performance of great versatility and force, which exceeded but by no means eclipsed those of Grant Tilly and Jan Gray.
Martin Sanderson's production, which may just have been said to have based itself on the central stage, swirled and seethed amongst the audience with an elan and polish which make this almost the best yet seen at Downstage.
Michael Woolf and Patrick Flynn collaborated to produce a rich variety of sound effects which added much pungency to the jokes. Michael Graves designed the set.—A. M. Bisley.