They've Already Won

Scott Wallace
11th Dec 2015

Immediately upon entering the small downstairs theatre at Belvoir to see They've Already Won, a two-person dissection of modern culture in the face of impending doom, you'll see the piece's title projected onto the wall in garish yellow Comic Sans. The use of the dreaded, derided font is the first hint of the spell-binding irreverence that permeates this absurdist po-mo performance piece/philosophical lecture.

They've Already Won begins as more of a jarringly-paced presentation by two technologically illiterate students on whether or not mankind is in fact facing an irretrievably bleak future. The laughs immediately come thick and fast as creators Harriet Gillies and Pierce Wilcox play off each other, she being the more flighty foil to his absurdly serious character. There is an ironic self-consciousness to their performance that adds layers of meaning and allows the play's central meaning to come to light.

Through lengthy political discourse, deadpan acting, sound poetry of 21st Century internet buzzwords, an excerpt from one of the most popular Australian plays of the past decade, and even lyrical dance, Harriet and Pierce get wet, sweaty and silly. Eventually the play comes to offer a very striking portrayal of how we respond to tragedy, emergency and crisis in a fast-changing culture of Buzzfeed articles and viral videos.

At certain moments it feels as if the play may suddenly veer off track into overt seriousness, but thankfully that never happens. The pair never lose sight of keeping the audience laughing, but also thinking at the same time.

They've Already Won is not likely to be for everyone, and its liberal use of (and reliance on) internet jargon makes it tailor made to a very specific crowd. Its overlapping discourses and strange tangents will also not be to all audiences' tastes, but if approached with an open mind, the play has the potential to be extremely thought-provoking.

Regardless of where you stand on its ultimate message (for which it provides no definitive answer) They've Already Won is hilarious. It's remarkable the way that the duo have tied together so many disparate and often ridiculous parts into a working whole, showing a real sense of innovation and creativity. This play is an absolute marvel of contemporary theatre, so get in and see it before it's too late.

They've Already Won is on at Belvoir St. Theatre until December 20. See the Sydney Scoop calendar for performance times.

Loading Map....
25 Belvoir Street
Surry Hills
+61 2 9699 3444