One Punch Wonder: a play tackling male-dominated violence

One Punch Wonder
Directed by Amanda Crewes
Performed by the Actors Hub Perth
Playing at the Melbourne Fringe Festival

"One punch. That's all it took!" proclaims one of the young men in the four-actor play, combined with modern dance, performance, One Punch Wonder, played as part of the Sydney Fringe Festival on September 18 and 19. The play, developed and acted by the Actors Hub Perth, has previously been performed in WA and is to be repeated in the Melbourne Fringe Festival, from September 25-27, at the Theatre Works.

The four actors/athletes, Adam William, Christian Tomaszewski, Levi Widnall and Andrew Dunstant, are brilliant in their interchanging roles as aggressors and victims within the culture of alcohol and drug-fuelled violence which has bedevilled Australian society over recent years.

The play informs us that 176 mostly young men have been killed as a result of one-punch attacks since 2000 in this country. A female voiceover recounts a series of individual cases in which young men died or were severely disabled after attacks, most often unprovoked and unexpected, and usually following head injuries received when they hit their heads after falling to the ground.

"This issue of one punch is such a male-dominated problem, but we need to show the mothers and sisters talking about from their perspectives," director Amanda Crewes said.

The highly physical action all takes place within a boxing ring. The bare-chested actors jump, do leaps, falls and somersaults, as they speak their varying parts, all based on true examples of attacks in different capital cities of Australian in the last 20 years.

The action occurs in counterpoint to personal accounts relayed as voiceovers of real participants, including attackers, victims, witnesses and family members affected by the tragedies. The end result is telling, as the play also attempts to analyse the societal causes of the violence -- including previous violent upbringing and pressures of a class and conflict-ridden society.

The play urges; "Educate and bring up boys to be men of respect, men that protect and look after not only their families, but others. Men that don't tolerate acts of violence against women and the vulnerable in our communities. Men that will never consider or accept acts of extreme cowardice like this as acceptable."

"It's time for change and to bring a truth and vulnerability told from the lives of those people impacted by a culture we must all work to redefine.'

You can watch the show on September 25, 26 and 27 at the Melbourne Fringe Festival

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