For enthusiasts of the physical performance of theatre and the drama of the world’s most popular sport: football or soccer (a contradiction to distinguish it from other codes) the new play Smurf in Wanderland presented by the National Theatre of Parramatta in association with Griffin Theatre Company brings together the two mediums in a light hearted comedy.
Smurf in Wanderland tells the story of a suffering Sydney FC supporter nicknamed Smurf who even though he was born in Parramatta supports the club in a period of time when they were performing badly and slowly descending to the bottom of the table whilst their rivals the Western Sydney Wanderers were the brand new club on the ascent.
The character of Smurf is based on writer David Williams’ own experience being a long time Sydney FC supporter and recognising the theatricality of football as a way to tell his own story on stage. Smurf is from the western suburbs himself and in his sky-blue jersey sticks out like a soar thumb amongst the red army of Wanderers supporters yet the play reveals how his sport brings out a sense of unity amongst all football supporters.
Williams own experience is based on a pathological pleasure for football and seeing no geographical boundaries in the game even though the play does examine how much our city has changed over the years through the lens of football, especially out west. The play also critiques police strategies and the media’s representation of the game. In an interview William told the City Hub, “The media tends to focus on alleged hooliganism at the expense of trying to understand the sport and the reason why people feel so passionately about it.”
If you are a fan of Australian sports and theatre then Smurf in Wanderland is definitely for you.
Apr 20-29, Various performance times. Riverside Theatre, Corner market and Church Street, Parramatta. $22-$43+b.f. Tickets & Info: www.riversideparramatta.com.au
May 2-13, Various performance times, Griffin Theatre, 13 Craigend St, Darlinghurst. $30-$43+b.f. Tickets & Info: www.griffintheatre.com.au
By Daniel Jaramillo.