Videotape

Theatre, Drama
A pile of VHS with black wax dripping down them
Photograph: Supplied

Time Out says

A brand new and exceedingly claustrophobic Australian thriller tackles life in lockdown

Unwind as a new Australian thriller reopens Kings Cross Theatre (KXT) this January. Videotape, written and directed by Saro Lusty-Cavallari (Animal Farm, The Great Australian Play) follows the travails of Daniel and Juliette, a seemingly picture-perfect young couple whose homely bliss is shattered when mysterious videotapes that have somehow recorded deeply private moments disrupt their run isolating together. Are they ready to grapple with the truth and figure out where the tapes are coming from and why? What could they possibly have to hide?

Starring Jake Fryer-Hornsby and Lucinda Howes, with additional video performance contributed by Laura Djanegara, Videotape was scheduled to open at KXT before the Great Indoors swept last year’s season away, and has subsequently been adapted to take in the drama of 2020 and lockdown life.

“The play was inspired by films like David Lynch’s Lost Highway and Michael Haneke’s Hidden,” Lusty-Cavallari says. “I think there’s something fascinating about how reckoning with one’s guilt intensifies when placed into the material reality of media like a videotape. In the past few years, when we’ve had a reckoning with the kinds of gendered and racial violence that prop up the systems that many of us benefit from, it felt like a perfect time to reappropriate that trope.”

Lockdown has only intensified the claustrophobia that already crept around the edges of the show and the couple’s increasing paranoia, he suggests. “When it was time to revisit the script we realised that integrating the pandemic into the text wasn’t just easy to do, it actually strengthened the underlying mechanics.”

He hopes that being one of the first plays to deal with what we all went through together will help make Videotape an unmissable experience. We know we want to see what this candid camera captured.

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