For those who never experienced the Tamagotchi craze, let me try to explain it. Basically, it was a tiny electronic egg-shaped pet you kept alive by ‘virtually’ feeding it, paying attention to it and nurturing it, like those dolls they give teenage girls in an attempt to reduce the risk of unwanted pregnancies.
Likewise, Tamagotchi Reset and other Doomsdays is a lesson about the damage we have done to our planet, and what is sure to happen if we don’t look after it better.
From the playwrights who brought us The Epic, this new thread of factual stories woven together in a comical and relatable fashion can be best described as performing art meets science fair.
Paul Grabovac and Izzy McDonald are charged with regaling the dialogue-driven script, written by Finn O’Branagáin and Scott Sandwich and devised during a week-long retreat. Joe Lui once again proves he is the ‘all-rounder’ of the Perth theatre scene, giving Barbara Streisand a run for her money, as director, dramaturgist and lighting designer of this production.
It takes us through the Y2K conspiracy, the demise of the dinosaurs and other apocalyptic events throughout history, in a face-paced ride from the past and into a future, spiralling towards the inevitable destruction of our own end, at our own hands.
Grabovac plays the character of Finn, in an optimistic university lecturer manner, complete with scientific demonstrations, akin to that of Dr Jones in Raider of the Lost Ark, equally inviting some schoolgirl crushes with those piercing blue eyes and quirky hormone-inducing intellect. Meanwhile, McDonald as Sandwich is as cute as ET’s Barrymore in her crocheted beanies paired with her well-nuanced adolescent lingo. So much so, it wouldn’t surprise me if she were invited to join some young audience members for pizza and passion pop after the show. That’s how uber-cool and smart she is.
For those of you that are not science buffs, au fait with all the topics covered as part of the dialogue (which I admit was me), the beauty of this production is it evokes curiosity and urges you to go home and do your research. My Google search history now includes H.P Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos and Carl Sagan’s space disk.
From the outset, thanks to Sara Chirichilli’s set design, which looks like it was built on a high school musical (not the Disney version) budget, combined with Joe Lui’s lighting and Tom Hogan’s sound engineering, you get the sense you are in for something a little left of centre.
What transpires is an addictive sort of theatrical experience. Not only is this show entertaining, it’s also educational. It would make a great subject for the next Melbourne Comedy Roadshow Debate.
Tamagotchi Reset and Other Doomsdays is experimental theatre at its best and a great exploration of the zeitgeists of our era. While it’s by no means condescending, it is a strong political statement sure to induce after-show conversation and a look at our personal role in saving our planet against an inevitable apocalypse.
I look forward to what the writing team of O’Branagáin and Scott Sandwich come up with next.
Tamagotchi Reset and Other Doomsdays continues at The Blue Room Theatre until Saturday 8 July.