Louis Viljoen’s new play, The Pervert Laura, is literally the big bang brought to stage, dealing with conflicting perceptions of reality: one person’s void that means “nothing”, in comparison to another’s black hole that is so “real” that it can destroy “creation”… If the hit series’ character Sheldon had to describe this piece, he would call it a Mind Coitus!
The play follows the extreme reaction of Laura to the news that the man who killed her mother was set to be released. What you immediately predict to be a woman who will clearly reveal herself as dealing with rage and anger, or sense of normality, gets flipped on its back as she shines light on her shadows for the first time in 15 years.
We first meet her where she is sitting with her therapist, where she admits to wearing many masks… with an us/them defensive attitude… it is others who just don’t get her, she is just trying to give them the picture they want.
There are three constants in this play …
Laura, as her own primary antagonist that fakes out of life in denial of her darker urges,
The demon, born out of her obsession with the killer, who hides in the dark corridors of her mind and stalks her from the shadows, and
David, her “conscience” masquerading as her husband, who is ever present yet never seen.
The demon and David appear to fight for Laura’s attention with her darkness both being fed and fought from the power struggle that ranges within her soul. Even though there is definite sexual urges at play as a form of escapism in this piece, it rather symbolises a need to be both over powered and powerful. When Laura’s dominant side comes out, with her therapist and sister, she struts around in her high heeled red shoes, but when she begs acceptance from her one night stand and the demon she stands barefoot, exposed, and almost pitiable.
Fleur du Cap Theatre Award winning actress Emily Child as Laura more than proves her mettle – she not only unashamedly embraces every dark nuance of her character with a simultaneous vulnerability and brittleness that aches with ferocity, but she also forces you to shed light on your own inner demons with her performance, however much they may frighten you.
This play does what a good psycho drama should do, it makes you feel uncomfortable. However, unlike a movie screen that is somewhat removed, here the darkness is on stage, in your face and almost tangible. It makes you shiver in your seat as you question how much darkness each person’s past is cultivating behind his/her normal life masks. No one is without baggage, so undeniably it comes down to how much power people grant the past to have over their character. Laura clearly chose to embrace the power that tore her young life apart with almost god-like worship.
The Pervert Laura is not a feel-good holiday outing and most definitely not for young or sensitive theatre lovers. It will leave you feeling like you have seen a brilliantly scripted, very dark and disturbing piece of theatre that undoubtedly packs a punch. If you walk in drunk, we are willing to bet that you will leave sober.
The production runs at The Little Theatre on Hiddingh Campus on 37 Orange Street until 20 December 2014. Tickets cost R100 per person via Webtickets. WARNING: The Pervert Laura contains explicit language, nudity and scenes of a sexual nature. No under 18’s.
Scene It by Barbara Loots & Fazielah Williams.