The Culprit typifies what your grandparents think student theatre is: it’s low budget, weird and aims to make you think. It’s unlike conventional theatre but firmly within its own practice. As an audience member you are forced to take an active role within the performance, making everyone the culprit and the policing force of all other participants. Expect to be yelled at, to be asked personal questions, expect the soundscape to be a little too intense and the conventions you hold dear to be thrown out the window. Hopefully you will come out having asked yourself some hard questions.
The official Autumn Sketches Program produced by Open Body Theatre described this piece as being about experiences that get lost in translation and a ‘tour through the hidden spaces of night and the dreams of the invisible’ the later being mostly ignored or difficult to understand. However the idea of being lost in translation, and in particular the advantages and consequences of multilingualism, is thoroughly explored in a way that is understandable for both the monolinguals in the audience and those who have been raised around many different languages.
A special mention needs to be given to the drummer who is not named but skilfully creates a mystical environment that sets a threatening every-person-for-themself mood throughout the performance.
Taylor Yu Qian’s The Culprit is a clever piece of theatre, although unfinished. The style is not for everyone; if your desire is a play that makes you feel good and gives you a brief pause from reality The Culprit is not for you. It forces the audience to contemplate their own lives and raises questions of culpability that some may find uncomfortable. In its incomplete state it is engaging but I look forward to seeing the finished production.
Taylor Yu Qian’s The Culprit is an unfinished work in development, presented by Open Body Theatre on the 9th – 14th of May.