David Finnigan is one of those Canberra Artists who've exploded once he's left Canberra - his play "Kill Climate Deniers", which I described elsewhere on this blog as the only play to be improved by dramaturgical assistance by Andrew Bolt, combined big action movie ridiculousness with deep moral interrogation about the future of humanity, complex statistical thought and commentary on its own existence, and took Sydney's Griffin theatre by storm back in 2018 after an inaugral season as part of the You Are Here festival in canberra. This piece, part of an ambitious 6-show cycle that will apparently all play together in 2024 somewhere somehow, looks at the last 75,000 years of human history, the events of Chrismas 2019 in Canberra and its surrounds, Finnigan's father, the early days of his own theatrical career, his obsession with contemporary pop diva Caroline Polocheck and the environmental catastrophe that awaits us all. Accompanied by Reuben Ingall providing musical support, a large funnell and a power point presentation, he drags us into a story that's wideranging yet specific and emotive, personal yet global, funny yet heartbreaking
The question may be asked "is this theatre". Well, yes it is - it's storytelling at its most basic, us being the tribe listening to a master storyteller - Finnigan knows how to drag us in, to swerve and vary his narrative to keep us guessing where it's going next, to find an attention-grabbing angle or image, to use metaphors in intriguing manners. It's a skillful piece and I'm very glad Canberra's courtyard theatre is fulfilling its potential here as a place where artists can experiment, develop and perfect their craft.