David Rabbitborough's A to Z of Australian Species



From time to time, around the metropolitan watering holes, one sees creatures with bald heads and black skivvies, talking in very loud voices. These are almost certain to be Theatricals, members of a completely self-contained ecosystem that exists within the Australian environment.

As the name implies Theatricals are creatures that live in and around the theatre, though as far as "in" goes, it seems the foyer will do. There are several different types. Most prominent at gatherings is the Theatrical Agent - a brightly plumed, flamboyant creature that exhales great clouds of smoke and throws its tentacles around everyone that comes near. Then there is the Director which stands motionless for hours, staring into space behind its dark glasses in its black leather skin. The Actress is a bright vapid creature that skips, swoops, laughs, tosses its hair and sits cross-legged waiting for the Director to regain consciousness.

The Male Lead is a tall muscular breed that speaks in a halting grunt and, last of all, the Theatre Critic is a pale sickly predator that lurks in the dark corners of theatres patiently selecting its victims. These colourful and bizarre creatures live in groups called parties devouring a substance known as gossip. Theatricals spend most of their time performing a ritual where they spend three hours arranging their plumage, arrive at the theatre and kiss everyone in sight, then take their seats only to snort loudly for a few minutes and then walk out.

No one is quite sure yet how Theatricals came to break away from the other species but it's pretty certain it was the other species idea.

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