Falling Petals by Ben Ellis
I’d forgotten how full on this play is. The language, the action and the content itself.
Set in the fictional town of Hollow, a mysterious syndrome begins to plague the town affecting only the young. The town is quarantined, schools are closed and fences go up. Guards patrol new enforced borders, but amongst the townsfolk denial runs deep. Phil and Tania are determined to do their final exams, whilst Sally mourns for those that are dying feeling lost, stuck, yet loyal to her hometown with little support and love from her family and friends.
It’s a disturbing idea that some kind of disease, something in the swine flu vein, could plague an entire population. That part of the story makes the play somewhat futuristic and out of this world. Yet real because in recent times it has happened. The placement of a Japanese sakura tree as the central place the teens go to when studying, hanging out or escaping is a bittersweet image as the play progresses. It is very out of place in the Australian landscape, yet continues to live despite the drought. Each petal falling from the tree symbolises the death of another child. Whilst the children die, the adults are not particularly sympathetic and become selfish – every man for himself. Even when it comes to their own children. At the same time, when you look at how someone like Phil behaves throughout the play you can understand where those horrible Gen Y stereotypes come from. Or perhaps it is the youth of every generation we just forget as we get older about how it used to be?
I found it compelling to read yet disturbing. The visuals are what grabbed me with this play. The beautiful images contrasted with the harsh ones. I think this would be a great one to explore for any of the projects but I like the idea of it being used for Poster/Promotion. It has lots of potential.