Gene Pool (27th October 2010)

I’ve won free tickets to another show – thanks Wotzon.com for the tickets! Jono and I went to see Gene Pool at BATS Theatre tonight, a play set in the not too distant future where human parts are genetically engineered for human survival following the world’s pandemic.

The show started at 8pm and there weren’t many people in the audience so we got plenty of seats to choose from. As we entered the smoky theatre (there was smoke coming out from the theatre all the way to the main entrance of BATS) to find suitable seats, we were greeted by a lone giant incubator with colourful lights flickering from the machine in a dark and misty forest/shed setting. The play began with a radio playing several interviews on the public’s view of using genetically engineered organs, with the channels being tuned from one to another in quick succession (this was deliberately done so we could only hear snippets of the broadcast). A silhouette of a man was seen appearing from inside the incubator but disappeared into the brief darkness. And then, a head popped out from the bottom of the incubator and a naked man was ‘born’ from the artificial womb. It was both fascinating and yet strangely weird watching a man drop head first out of the incubator. It was like watching child-birth, where a newborn (in this case, the man) was slowly emerging from the ‘vagina’ minus all the blood. Hmm…

And when I mentioned naked, I meant full frontal nudity – for the next 50 minutes, we watched actor Francis Mountjoy perform his silent character in nude, a genetically engineered human being who alone made discoveries and learnt about sight, touch, smell, emotions, how to walk and trying to communicate with his ‘surrogate’ (the machine) and eventually breaking the bond and left the familiar setting to the outside world. It felt raw watching him rub and snake his body all over the floor, trying to get to his feet and to some extent as if watching an animal documentary where a baby gorilla is learning its way of life from birth, with no understanding of the world or even humility. I wondered, was this what our caveman ancestors had to go through as part of their evolution?

Actor Francis played his role brilliantly – on top of needing a heck of a lot of confidence to perform in full nude in front of a live audience, his character required a lot of physical movements including walking on all fours with his knuckles (must be quite sore), jumping up and down the machine and occasionally falling with a thud (I doubt the protective floor mat would make a huge difference with a fall like that) There were also moments of where his moves were of sexual or erotic nature, like when he was swinging himself on the machine, or when he played with the protruding light bulb, stroking it tenderly (you know what I mean!). Jono teased me saying I’ve got such impure thoughts – he was naked for god’s sake and moving in such ways! Not my fault!! :P The only time when the actor did cover his man bits was when he returned to stage for his applause, which to be honest, wasn’t necessary by then but a tongue-in-cheek after putting the audience through so much bare skin.

Tickets cost $20 (that’s a saving of $40 for us tonight – yay!) and the show runs from 16th October – 6th November so there’s another week to go if you’re keen to check it out!


Comments

  1. I'm actually going tonight, so I skipped reading the description of the show... Afraid it might be a spoiler :)

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