About

This performance was originally filmed in Melbourne during the stage four restrictions brought about by COVID-19 and premiered at the 2020 Melbourne Fringe Festival and continued on to the Adelaide Fringe Festival in February/March 2021. It then appeared at the 2021 Brighton and Edinburgh Fringe Festivals in the UK.

The sense of dailly repetition during the recent COVID-19 lockdowns was aptly described in the the book of Ecclesiastes. This book is challenging, but it rewards those who engage with it, believers and non-believers alike. The book is often ambiguous, with multiple interpretations commonly possible for the same passage. The Preacher offers a new interpretation that examined the original Hebrew text to rethink existing translations and bring fresh eyes to the work. For example, the word hebel/hevel (הֶבֶל), which literally means breath or vapour, has been variously translated into English as fleeting, vanity, meaningless or absurdity, and at various times it can mean any of these things. In The Preacher, hebel is translated in multiple ways to reflect this shifting of meaning; however it is most commonly translated into a variation of the clichéd comedy punchline 'what's the deal with that?' This reflects how the word may have been originally uttered as an exclamation, to point out an absurdity done on earth and find some recognition of the comedy in it. The production views the original context of Ecclesiastes as that of a 'stand up' performance, where the original orator named Kohelth (translated as The Assembler, Teacher, or Preacher) delivered wisdom to a gathered crowd, using similar tools of rhetoric utilised by modern stand up comedians.

The work was written and adapted by Anthony Noack. Anthony is a playwright and has a history in comedy as a producer and writer. In the past he has staged his theatrical plays at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival and he is currently working on new independent projects.

www.anthonynoack.com

Reviews

“This show is highly recommended for people who like dry comedy marinated in philosophy” ★★★★½ The Adelaide Show

“The script is clever and tight ...keeping the audience on its toes with its accelerated ruminations.” - Anita Kertes, HIFI Way

“...a thinking outside-the-box idea that’s really impressive.” - Shane Berketa, See-Do-Eat-Review

“...a show which melds philosophy and comedy together in a stand-up routine that certainly stands out.” - Sophie Price, Theatre Haus

“There is great pleasure to be found in the musings of our central character. ...mining deep veins of theological thought.” - Bradley Ward, Theatre Travels

Previous Show Reviews

'Noack has talent: his work is tight, well-paced, thoughtfully structured.' - Cameron Woodhead, The Age/Behind the Critical Curtain

That Noack is able to introduce so many characters in half-an-hour is testament to the quality of the writing on offer here... Overall this is a fantastic hour’s entertainment easily worth the price of entry.’ - Vince Chadwick, Crikey

‘The two short plays proved themselves a worthy inclusion as part of the Comedy Festival lineup, providing the audience with a steady stream of laughter for 60 minutes.’ -Suzanne Tate, Theatre People