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FLAT OUT LIKE A LIZARD by Anatoly and Lisa

Australian playwright Norman Price was a founding educator at the TAFE Queensland Acting program more than 20 years ago. Norman was a larger than life character, and very passionate about the theatre. We felt it fitting that for our 2nd Robert The Cat project at Metro Arts we presented one of his last unpublished performance texts: Flat Out Like A Lizard. This work is partly about the struggle of being a writer and an artist in a sometimes hostile or uncaring world, and it seems particularly fitting to be presenting it in 2020, though we chose it before the pandemic and the crisis in the Arts that has ensued. It is also a valedictory work by a writer looking back at his life and career and we are proud to be able to give Norman this opportunity to share his writing with an audience that has finally been allowed back into theatres.

Flat Out Like A Lizard contains Norman’s signature sharp wit, dark humour and acute ear for the sound of Australian suburbia. The central character is Lazarus White, a writer and story-teller, who presents a collection of short narratives that span a century, to a ‘committee of experts’. They are the gatekeepers: to publication, funding, production and will be familiar to anyone who has tried to make or get work in the Arts or indeed any industry. They are also your own inner critic, the voice in your head that questions your worth, and tempts you with the easy way out.

Within these quirky, random-seeming stories about “ordinary” women and men, lies a more serious and disturbing subject matter. Images of predator and prey, of secrets and lies, of loneliness and isolation, of dark impulses and desires, both reveal the prevalence of violence by men against women in our society, and challenge us on our fascination with stories about crime and violence, a constant presence in television, film and all media. What is it about the serial killer that we find so alluring and addictive? And how can we as creators and consumers of culture position ourselves within this reality? And what is the relationship between the actor and the audience as we sit and tell stories in and about the dark?

Image by Monique Roy

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