Lesbian Variations is a thought-provoking exercise in reimagining the predominant sexuality of our society. In a trio of short plays homosexuality is normalised through the realistic portrayal of lesbian relationships in a variety of contexts.
The first item on the program is Cake on a Plate, which features a high school teacher celebrating the wonders of literature and love before an unresponsive, all-female class. Two of the students at the all-female school are caught passing notes to one another planning an assignation behind the maintenance shed, and the variation is that the teacher and the class are indifferent to this revelation (despite that fact that adolescents, however tolerant, will always be a welter of teasing and giggles regardless of whether the couple locking lips is gay or straight). Alicia Gonzalez plays the teacher as someone who has grown jaded with the seemingly impenetrable minds of her students, whose interest lies in their iPods and iPhones rather than the Bard. This coldness makes her own subsequent interest in one of the red-handed young lovers seem exploitative.
The second play is The Dyke Variations, which sees a young female couple riding out the highs and lows of raising a baby. Again, in the twenty-minute performance, no reference is made to the fact that they are lesbian parents. They are simply parents. The play is divided up into a series of short exchanges between the couple (Alicia Gonzalez again and Laura Viskovich), including an amusing argument over who has the superior voice for singing the baby to sleep.
The final piece is The Punter’s Siren, which is a reimagining of socio-historical norms. The year is 1966 and the setting Randwick Racecourse, where Helen (Kate McGinniskin) is attending her first race meet. A glamorous, confident blonde (Laura Viskovich) makes a pass at the neophyte punter in the betting ring and tempts her to splurge on a long-shot so the two can afford a suite in The Menzies. There is no way that such flirtations would have passed unnoticed: the seducer is wearing a white thigh-length, tight-fitting dress that is clearly inspired by the controversial number Jean Shrimpton wore to the previous year’s Melbourne Cup. The majority of this two-hander is told through Helen’s internal monologues, which are a delirious rush of lust.
Lesbian Variations played to full houses during Mardi Gras and is back by popular demand.
Mar 31 & Apr 14 & May TBA, Slide Bar, 41 Oxford St, $30, 8915 1899, ticketek.com.au
BY CARLIN HURDIS