– by Rose Maurice
The Street Theatre
Saturday March 21
How do you take your coffee? Weak? Black? Milk? Decaffeinated? Well, on Saturday and Sunday afternoon, F*ck Decaf served the audience a hot cup of coffee with a dash of drama and extra friendship on the side. Penned by The Cutting Room Floor’s Tyler Jacob Jones – winner of two Artrage Theatre Awards (2013 & 2014) and the prestigious Martin Sims Award (2014 Fringe World Festival) – F*ck Decaf captures the life and friendship of Ruby (Amanda Watson) and Kate (Ann-Marie Biagioni). The play follows them as they meet up for coffee at the same café and are served by the same cute waiter year after year. Ruby’s coffee order fluctuates, yet her and Kate’s friendship continues to grow and unfold.
Kate and Ruby are best friends––no, scrap that. The oldest of friends. Binary opposites in their coffee orders, views on life and taste in men, their friendship is continuously threatened by heated arguments and rash behaviour.
The characters were well established and perfectly executed by Watson and Biagioni. The result was an hour of tension-filled dialogue and coffee-throwing madness which had the audience in tears and on the edge of their seats with anticipation. What unfolded was a mixture of shouting, coffee-sculling and coffee-throwing. While the promo did promise smashed crockery, for safety and clean-up reasons, paper cups were used instead. Yet the mess of spilled coffee over the entire set and cake splashed on both actors made up for this. The highlight of this scene was when Kate stormed out and, via phone and through the café’s windows, continued to argue and yell, making an outstanding range of angered facial expressions.
The play’s messages about life, our misunderstandings and how we grow continued throughout. From Ruby and Kate’s continual singing and discussion of ‘Life’ by Des-ree, from their reflections on what their biographies would be about, to their attempts to justify their travelling choices or Pilates classes, life was always an integral discussion point. Their decisions in life and their choices in men were shown to deeply affect their overall happiness and, coincidentally, their coffee choices. The performance left a spectacular message on how we shouldn’t need to justify our own decisions to anyone but ourselves.
“I take my coffee like I take my men,” Kate repeated throughout the performance. This, along with Ruby’s changes from skim to decaf to espresso highlighted how we sometimes perceive coffee as a reflection of both personality and lifestyle. Yet, in F*ck Decaf Ruby and Kate’s coffee choices were secondary to how they drank, tipped, threw coffee; over themselves, each other and the set itself, showing that it’s not our decisions or our coffee choices that matter. Instead, it’s whether or not we’re happy with them.
Rose Maurice has a happy life surrounded by words. As a recent graduate from the ANU with a degree in Literature and History, she now works in a bookshop. Rose has an amateur background in performance poetry and has a tendency to write poems and short story ideas on the back of receipts and in the covers of novels she is reading. She loves to explore, dance, dream and midnight bike rides.