Performed live on stage this week, at Short and Sweet. A number of interesting American plays feature amoungst the ten delightful short plays on offer this week. Drama and comedy, epic costumes galore, with money well spent on animal make-up too.
(1) “R.A.G.S.” directed by Alicia Badger and written by Southern Sydney’s Alex Fenner. This group therapy support meeting is a dark and ironic comedy feast, attended by runaway animals, and yes they have huge issues including PTSD. Ensemble cast wearing great make-up and costumes. Starring Laura Bailey, Paul Chambers, Rhiannon De Margheriti, Alex Fenner, Sarah Green, Makedonka Stoilova and Kate O’Sullivan.
(2) “Spectacular Disasters” written by Randy Gross (USA) is an anti-war message piece, directed with love and care by Uma Kali Shakti. Syrian refugee versus American, and both have the same job. We have common humanity and common compassion, that raising walls and forced tribalism provide no benefits. Starring Jessica Phebe Knox (Sabeen) and Troy Hester (Charles).
(3) “The Hook Up” dating comedy expertly written by Ken Levine and directed by Rashmi Ravindran. Web-cam dating comedy masterpiece was an audience comedy favourite on opening night. Jessie has her entire life streamed on 24 hour web-cams, her web-cam and her subscribers, her cat’s web-cam with 12500 subscribers, all paying $9.95 per month to watch. Her unsuspecting victim Adam is a tinder date, who initially can not believe his good luck, fortunately his privacy, and his junk, remain unseen, and then he breaks the fourth wall. Starring Frederick Du Rietz as Adam and Cara Severino as Jessica.
(4) “To End Where You Began” 18-year-old Valentina Buay from Northern Sydney, elegantly delivers her self-devised solo physical theatre experience. Dance, movement, comedy, with minimal dialogue and maximum impact. This unique experience was the biggest audience favourite on opening night. Via dance, observing the cycle of birth, first steps, childhood, school years, drunk, office-worker, married, pregnant, birth, but then everything runs backwards, to go back to the very beginning.
(5) “The Golden Years” classic comedy directed by Felicity Burke and written by Joe Starzyk. Starring the wonderful Felicity Burke (Mabel) with Duncan Armitage (Norman) as a long married couple who know everything there is to know about each other. Well it turns out that she does know everything there is to know about him, and that until now he never did know, that she always knew everything. Very Camilla, and very PR British voices and attitude.
(6) “Birth Of An Advert” written by Kajal Naidu and directed by Shannon McAlary. Comedy with irony, set at the idea challenged Advertising Agency. Creating a fresh marketing campaign, stretching the truth, so that everyone urgently needs to have their very own unique “Bundle Of Joy”. A journey about finding unconditional love, complete with some last minute audience participation. Starring Joyce Vasta as The Boss, Saro Lepejian as Kevin, Joanna Eve as Martha and Dominique Purdue as Olivia.
(7) “End of the Rope” by Nancy Hopps (USA). Tom Peach directs Laura Tate (Grace). A very very long rope, Grace is experiencing the fresh trauma of her daughter Meagan’s death. Monologue with an original live music score by Cassandra Scott. Held in Grace’s hands, the rope lengthens, moves and shortens, following along the very complex journey arc, as Grace relives being with her daughter at the end.
(8) “The Christmas Fairy” was co-written by Canberra locals Adele Lewin with Nigel Palfreman. Directed/Starring Adele Lewin as Crystal, who when much younger, was the top-of-the-tree Christmas Fairy. One woman comedy monologue short story, in two voices. Boxed up by her owners, and now lonely whilst living on a shelf at the local Op-Shop shelf, Crystal needs a new family, despite the competition from all the younger Christmas Fairies.
(9) “Can You Hear Me Now?” written by Bara Swain (USA). Joy Roberts directs Mel Day (Loni) and Debbie Tilley (her mum Dorothy). Drama between daughter and mother, a damaged relationship on its edge, her daughter called to a fake emergency on the day of her mother’s wedding anniversary.
(10) “My Scale Is Lying To Me” unfaithful relationships, clever comedy, written by Scott Mullen and directed by James Stubbs. At the customer refunds desk, because the scales do not measure weight. The scales are truthful, proving written messages, instead of measuring kilograms. Starring Meg Corbett as Wanda, Mary Caldwell as Shelly and Lara Balken as Cindy.
This year has a new venue for S+S, and very comfortably seats a maximum of 171. Top 80 Week Six, Thursday 8th March 2018 until Sunday. The S+S play festival has new shows every week for eight weeks, and runs through to April with both a Top 80 program (Thursdays-Fridays-Saturdays at 7.30pm and Sundays at 6.30pm) together with a separate Wildcards program (Saturdays at 3.30pm and Sundays at 2.30pm). The S+S gala finals will take place in April 2018.
Short+Sweet Theatre (@ Tom Mann Theatre) Academy of Music and Performing Arts (AMPA) 136 Chalmers Street Surry Hills
All photos by Chris Lundie.
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