"I see through you man. You pretend to be a kitten with the ladies, but I know you.
Deep down you're an ape, just like me."
The Parnassus Den Mitch Matthews Award (2008)
The Griffin Award (2007)
Dad, Robbo, lives in fear his son might be gay; his brother-in-law Dave has lost his sex drive since his wife's promotion; and his best mate Rex seems determined to prove his virility by screwing anything that moves.
When Phillip meets Chelsea he’s offered a glimpse of another life – one in which he can finally leave the pack behind and become his own man. But what type of man?
Offering a glimpse into the secret life of men, the play explores the rituals of modern day manhood to ask the question, have we truly made it out of the jungle?
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Phillip – Bryce Youngman
Robbo – John McNeill
Hayley – Julia Davis
Dave – Andy Rodoreda
Rex – Laurence Breuls
Chelsea – Angela Hattersley
Director Christopher Hurrell
Assistant Director/Choreographer Velalien
Producer Sam Hawker
Designer Micka Agosta
Lighting Designer Nicholas Higgins
Sound Designer/Composer James Collins
Stage Manager Jame Grimley
Consultant Primatologist Guy Williams
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What do we really know about men when we take away the stereotypes, the anecdotes? Do we care enough to discover what men long for; what fills them with fear? Or are we happy to perpetuate the assumptions that we've clung to for so long?
Maggie Hamilton, "What men don't talk about"
Men don't talk it seems. Which makes it hard to write a play about them. Only they do. You've just got to know the language.
Modern 'man' stands at the centre of a great identity crisis. The old archetypes — the king, the warrior, the stoic, the breadwinner — no longer fit. But what sort of man to become? My dad works on oilrigs; I am a playwright. Modern masculinity to me, seems more fluid than ever. There are now many ways to be a man and many different kinds of men to be. Some men — a lot - seem to be reverting to boys. Incapable of growing up they cling to their mates and the bachelor lifestyle with a reckless abandon. After the whole SNAG phenomenon imploded, lad culture is now back on the rise, though with the imprimatur of some kind of self-knowing irony. But what if we lose the irony? For though the caveman is long extinct, his shadow is immense. Men and women grapple with the ape inside them every day. Disagree? Then why do so many men still think they have to be strong and silent? Why is any woman as promiscuous as most men branded a slut? To better understand the origins of our own behaviour I looked to our closest cousins, the chimpanzee and the gorilla. In conversation with Jane Goodall (a world expert on chimpanzees) and Guy Williams, a Sydney primatologist, and in my own research, I was consistently amazed at our close tie^ to the rest of the primate family. Put simply we may be down from the treetops but we’re not out of the jungle yet.
This is a play about men and women, learning to be modern women and men.
FROM THE PRIMATOLOGIST.
My background has encompassed the study of the behavioral evolution and culture of primates, in particular the great apes and the Himalayan langur monkeys of north India. My own career as an academic, zoo keeper and environmental consultant has enabled me to explore the connections that exist between humanity and our closest relations.
I first met Caleb when he approached me with the idea to develop a play around an aspiring primatologist and his personal relations with both his human and gorilla family. Over the past two years I have provided Caleb with ongoing support to ensure that die script is scientifically sound, reflecting the latest developments in primate behaviour research. This process involved an ongoing conversation with Caleb and reviewing several drafts of the script as it evolved from a fledgling idea into a story that conveyed not only the required dramatic narrative but, equally importantly (at least to me!) scientific veracity.
This is a witty and insightful exploration into the origins of human behaviour. It has been my pleasure to be a part of it.
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"The opening scene was explosive and unpredictable and set the tone for the rest of the play- high drama one moment, high comedy the next...So simple, but so tickled the ‘Ahowclever' gland. Very good stuff" - Lee Bemrose, The Drum Media
"Lewis has a good feel for dialogue and comedy. He creates dramatic moments that have us by turns, laughing, cringing, shaking our head in disbelief and empathising with the characters...Monkeyboy is witty, insightful and entertaining." - Jo Litson, The Sunday Telegraph
"Christopher Hurrell's production has fun with Phillip's primates, and all the acting is effective... It is welcome for taking a hard and confronting look at the myths and rituals of a subset of Australian masculinity." - Stephen Dunne, Sydney Morning Herald
“A Shining example of what fringe theatre can be.. this production is universally enjoyable. The performances are excellent, the script is tight and the humour is so acutely Australian that the audience feels like they are being genuinely included in the jokes” – Alex Lalak, The Daily Telegraph
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