Writer Alex Lykos observes the modern ‘successful man’ in new one-man show, ‘Jawbone’

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Written and performed by Alex Lykos, Jawbone is a provocative, bold, and controversial dark comedy which examines the mythology of the modern day “successful man.”

By the modern definition, a “successful man” has a high-paying job, is married, 2 kids, an investment property and takes the family on regular holidays. Tim hasn’t achieved any of these milestones. His family, friends and society see him as a failure – as does he. It’s at this rock-bottom state where he breaks from the shackles of his own comatose existence and begins living on the edges – standing up to his more “successful” married brother, quitting his job, gambling, drinking, exploring his sexuality and finding love.

Alex Lykos is the writer of Alex & Eve feature film and stage trilogy, festival darling feature film Me & My Left Brain, critically acclaimed Better Man, A Long Night, The Negotiating Table, It’s War and Australia’s Game The Musical.

JAWBONE will also double as the 15 year anniversary of Marrickville Theatre Company with a gala opening night on the 26th of May celebrating 15 years of independent modern Australian storytelling.

The Greek Herald sat down with Lykos to discuss his upcoming show:

Jawbone is unique because it is a one man show, written and performed by yourself. Why did you choose to make it a one man show?

When Covid hit, we didn’t know what the future held for us, particularly for those of us in the arts industry. Our previous shows had an average cast size of 8 or so. I knew that trying to put on a show with a cast that size was dangerous. So I examined the one-person show format because at least I could rehearse at home during lockdown. I began writing the show in March last year and by July I started collaborating with composer George Ellis who wrote the music for the piece.

The story plays on the life of a “successful man”. What was the influence and reasoning behind this and can you describe the process in making it into an interesting, intriguing story?

I am in my 40s now and many times when I attend a social gathering, it feels more like, excuse the language, a “dick-swinging” contest. Men are constantly competing over who has more money. Someone actually told me the success of a man is measured by the number of square metres he owns and the number of kids he has. This person’s definition of success I guess haunted me in many ways. In a city like Sydney, if you don’t have money, you can easily feel like a complete failure.

So telling a story from the perspective of someone who is essentially a failure and is now in a position where he has nothing to lose, opened the story up.

You’ve mentioned that writing and performing the show has been quite cathartic. Can you explain why? 

I personally went through a very difficult period during covid, both personally and professionally. The way I coped was by writing this story. It was an outlet of sorts which allowed me to release the angst, the anger I had towards myself and in the character of Tim, felt like I had someone who could confide to. 

What do you want the audience to take away from your performance?

I want the audience to laugh, cry, feel and perhaps stimulate discussion about the serious themes that are being examined.

You’ve written feature films, theatre shows and now a one man stage performance. What has been your favourite thing to write and is there a sense of excitement when writing new and compelling stories? 

Each story I have written has been pleasing for different reasons. Alex & Eve was pleasing because it played at a time when the communities wanted a story about the power of understanding and acceptance so it was pleasing to see, on a nightly basis, Greeks and Lebanese in the audience coming together enjoying a piece of work. 

Jawbone led me to composer George Ellis. You don’t ever really know how a collaboration will go with another creative. But there was a magic between us from the first moment. We just clicked. It just happened. And the most memorable aspect of creating this story was the sessions I had with George. I’d go over and perform bits of the show and he would create and play music right there and then in front of me, it was extraordinary. We’d then break, have a glass of wine(white), and talk about life. It was just a memorable experience. The music he created is beautiful and it stirs the emotions(and makes my job as an actor so much easier). It’s been one of my best and most treasured collaborations.

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