FINALLY FRIDAY: Back to GPAC

TRUNK CALL: Back to Back brings its Ganesh Versus the Third Reich to Geelong next week.

INTERNATIONALLY acclaimed stage-show Ganesh versus the Third Reich is coming home to Geelong after a string of successful shows across three continents.
Local company Back to Back Theatre is excited about a season at Geelong Performing Arts Centre (GPAC) after successes in New York, LA and European venues since the show’s debut at Melbourne’s Malthouse Theatre in 2011.
Artistic director Bruce Gladwin said Ganesh Versus the Third Reich touched on moral and ethical complications, telling the story of Indian god Ganesh travelling to Nazi Germany to reclaim the swastika.
The play operated on many levels as a concurrent storyline following the relationship between a group of actors and a director developing a production of the story.
Gladwin said the storyline somewhat mimicked the nature of Back to Back Theatre’s story production, with the group of intellectually-disabled actors developing their works through discussion and improvisation without a “single author”.
“It’s a fictionalised autobiography in a way but we never want the truth to get in the way of a good story,” he smiled.
“There are moments when the audience is pushed to think about a diverse range of subjects of power and cultural implications. It sounds heavy but the work is also funny.
“It’s about power and how someone can be manipulated into the service of another. This can also relate to parents and children, teachers and students or a director and a group of actors.”
Gladwin said Back to Back Theatre’s small core group of actors, who were “perceived to have an intellectual disability”, brought their own idiosyncrasies to the stage.
The company’s works touched on issues surrounding living with a disability in society but the ultimate objective was “to make great art”, he explained.
Back to Back Theatre’s actors included former Nelson Park College students and a ex- champion gymnast, all working full-time with the company, Gladwin said.
“Most haven’t been through traditional training courses so they’re very human, with difference in speech patterns, movement and aesthetic. Each is unique and the audience is struck by a sense of difference,” Gladwin mused.
GPAC will present Ganesh versus the Third Reich from 28 February and 3 March.

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