2 Surrealist Monologues from APE
An R Rated dream play with a power to disturb, APE was first presented in 1982 in an earlier version under the title BROTHER APE. While it had a successful season, it certainly created controversy. It resulted in walkouts and violent threats against the theatre, The Pie In The Sky Theatre and Bar in Canberra. Why?
The play is an allegorical absurdist drama dealing with a 1970s/ early 80s couple who engage in a menage trois with an ape: a house pet name Brother Ape. They train Brother Ape to do household chores and even take on more complex tasks. Fantasy becomes a reality as the couple take their engagement with their house pet into a step beyond in the bedroom.
Their superficial world is exemplified in the way they compete with their wealthier friends for status. Their children are locked out of the bedroom though we hear their voices as they try to imagine what their parents are up to. They describe it as "dancing". The language is mannered and suggests the only way they can relate is through a kind of coding and play-acting. Their names are never mentioned. The husband is spoken to only as "Poor Dear" and the wife is spoken to only as "My Love".
As Brother Ape starts to assert a kind of dominance over the couple, Poor Dear becomes extremely fearful of what is happening while My Love seems distracted. Whether Brother Ape was simply imaginary or a literal figure, once engaged, he is never to leave the household.
The play borrows heavily from Carl Jung's concept of the "shadow" and the "trickster" archetype.