The mating game goes underground

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Hannah Wood (Jamie) and Ethan Gibson (John) on set.
HAVE you ever given serious thought to what would happen if global warming escalated to the point where life on Earth was impossible?

Canberra playwright Bruce Hoogendoorn has and his new play, “The Underground Ark”, shows.

In a dark scenario that sees  an elite group of people selected to live in underground university dormitory-style accommodation, Hoogendoorn imagines a society where genetic engineering is necessary to maintain the race without inbreeding until such time as the world becomes habitable.

The play focuses particularly on reproduction with some characters like idealistic medical student John, played by Ethan Gibson and menial worker (also sex object) Jamie, played by Hannah Wood, the stage is set for conflict.

Needless to say, they’ve had fun with the set and the director and cast members enjoy showing “CityNews” their onstage light box, the kind used to combat “seasonally effective disorders” during long winters in Scandinavian countries.

And in this underworld ark, we discover, the inhabitants’ eating patterns are heavily monitored, so that there is no junk food. You can imagine what would happen if a Big Mac were to be introduced into the equation.

“I normally write comedy drama,” Hoogendoorn tells “CityNews”, “but this one is more a drama-comedy.”

Just in case you don’t even like to think about global warming, the playwright has a consoling note.

“There is certain optimism in the play,” he adds, “an optimism that may repulse people.”

“The Underground Ark”, at The Courtyard Studio, Canberra Theatre Centre,  June 13-23. Wednesdays, all tickets $15. Bookings to 6275 2700.




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Helen Musa
“CityNews” arts editor

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