Fringe World: One Punch Wonder challenges notions of masculinity

Director Amanda Crewes with actors Christian Tomaszewski, Nicholas Allen, Adam Droppert and Andrew Dunstan first staged One Punch Wonder at the Fringe World Festival. Picture: Andrew Ritchie  d478391
Director Amanda Crewes with actors Christian Tomaszewski, Nicholas Allen, Adam Droppert and Andrew Dunstan first staged One Punch Wonder at the Fringe World Festival. Picture: Andrew Ritchie d478391

SCENES in One Punch Wonder shockingly mirror reality by exploring the senseless act of a coward punch and how we can fight the epidemic ruining lives across Australia.

Presented by The Actors’ Hub in East Perth during Fringe Festival, One Punch Wonder is part of a series of four shows presented over four weeks by four third-year male actors.

Know Your Enemy is about a group of survivors in post-apocalyptic Perth; Pool (no water) puts a humorous spotlight on the often unseen side of the acting industry; and Why? explores the lives of Heath Ledger, Robin Williams, Muhammad Ali and Andy Kaufman.

Each play is directed by Balcatta resident Amanda Crewes who leads the cast of four: Christian Tomaszewski from Bedford; Nicholas Allen from Greenwood, Adam Droppert from Claremont and Andrew Dunstan from Yokine.

Ms Crewes said working with an all-male cast was unique and opened up an opportunity to delve into issues such as the coward punch epidemic, with the play stretching the actors’ ability by also having to take on female roles.

“This issue of one punch is such a male-dominated problem but we need to show the mothers and sisters talking about it from their perspectives,” she said.

“The boys play the mothers, they play the sisters and they’re not mocking, they’re taking on that female energy, the mothering nurturing energy and they’ve got to get to the authentic truth of that.”

Ms Crewes said she wanted to share the enormity of the issue – which not only affected the victim and the perpetrator but the lives of family members and the community too – by starting a conversation around the need for cultural change in Australia.

“In One Punch Wonder, we present three lies that we tell our boys, the first being that it’s all about their athleticism and being strong and that’s what it means to be a man,” she said.

“The second is about sexual conquest and to have a girl hanging off you but really what we’re teaching them is to use humans.

“The third is that their net worth equals their self worth and that it’s about how much they’re earning.

“These three lies are causing destruction.”

Having done extensive research into coward punch assaults, Ms Crewes said she wanted to give the narrative justice after hearing true stories from victims, people who support victims and perpetrators.

“The wonderful brave families who spoke to us are so passionate and want it to stop and don’t want anyone to go through what they have been through,” she said.

“At one point in the show the boys start reading headlines that were taken from the first six pages of Google at the time, we didn’t even get to the tenth page and none of the cases were the same, none were repeated at all.

“You hear all these names and now the perpetrator’s names are associated with the victim’s name and those two names become synonymous.”

Ms Crewes said the play presented the need for change by presenting a “truth and vulnerability” told from the lives of people impacted by a culture that all Australians must work together to redefine.

Show Times

Know Your Enemy: February 4, 8, 17 and 24.

One Punch Wonder: on February 2, 10, 18 and 22.

Pool (no water): February 3, 11, 15 and 23.

Why?: February 1, 9, 17 and 25.

Tickets $25.

Book at fringeworld.com.au

Plays feature coarse language and sexual references.

All plays show at The Actors’ Hub, 129 Kensington Street in East Perth.