BY Selina Bell
‘Out of place’: three words referencing an entire theme, which a lot of us know all too well. It’s a theme that inspired Nicholas Tan’s first full-length play, “Fix, Six” which will make its debut at FRINGE WORLD 2018.
With Australia being recently immersed nationwide in the same-sex marriage debate, Tan emphasizes the idea of ‘coming out’ in his play. He also draws attention to the reality of OCD and social awkwardness, in an engaging story line where two brothers confront their problems.
Tan is no stranger to theatre. Starting in 2015, he wrote a duologue for the Stages WA playwriting group. He quickly immersed himself into the local theatre scene, through writing, dramaturgy, directing and even puppeteering, however, “Fix, Six” is his first fully independent work.
Originally a 10-minute play directed by Allison Van Gaal, it was one of the few works selected for Tantrum Youth Arts 2016 short play festival; Hissyfest. Tan has since switched to full length, along with the motivation and support of Allison, he says, “I felt I needed to continue the journey of the brothers— I wanted them to try and reconcile”.
The play is set ten years ago, before the widespread knowledge of gender and sexual fluidity that we are exposed to now, existed. Tan believes that more plays should be orientated about coming out in the 90’s and early 2000’s.
“By looking at the past, we know where we’ve come from, which gives us a better idea of the present and informs us on what we must do for a better future— hopefully, a future that is inclusive.”
With the theme of coming out centralized in the play, partly in response to his own personal experience, Tan also highlights the terrible reality of internalized homophobia, and the inability of progression within society when people are unable to accept and love themselves for who they truly are. These ideals are embedded in Tan’s ‘character first, social issues/themes secondary’ approach in the creation of his play.
The play ultimately deals with issues revolving around self-awareness, and limits, with some characters finding their way out to better circumstances, while others do not.
“Five, Six” will be performed at Studio 411, Murdoch University, on February 16th and 17th at 6:30pm and February 21st, 22nd and 23rd at 1:30pm, with the preview February 8th at 6:30pm.
With Tan being totally unafraid to tackle mental health issues and issues surrounding ‘coming out’, his play is sure to make a mark on the local theatre scene and is a must see at FRINGE WORLD 2018.
All tickets/more info about the play can be found at fringeworld.com.au