Tag Archives: Duncan Maurice

The Age of Entitlement @ Merchant’s House

Some of the 20 cast of Age of Entitlement

I don’t want to give anything away about THE AGE OF ENTITLEMENT but there is a huge amount I want to say. It is so unique and layered that I want to provide you with a fulsome discussion about the show and what to expect. But any descriptors might accidentally give the game away. Perhaps… working on the assumption that a review is about 250 words long, I could repeat the phrase, “You really, really have to see this show!” 31.25 times.

I’m not sure that will wash with the Editor. So here we go on a journey of vagueness.

The show is playing in an historic mansion, Merchant’s House, in the Rocks. Fine so far, I can say that. It is part of the Rocks’ Village Bizarre Festival 2014 and the Rocks’ Pop-Up Project whose initiative is to activate and re-imagine vacant spaces throughout Sydney. That’s OK too because I nicked it from the program. Continue reading The Age of Entitlement @ Merchant’s House

THE SILENCE CAME

Rose Grayson and Charles Upton in Duncan Maurice's THE SILENCE CAME. Pic Aston Campbell
Rose Grayson and Charles Upton. Pic Aston Campbell

By its very nature, the world of theatre encourages theatremakers to come up with bold, expansive, romantic ideas.

A creative artist working in many different fields, Duncan Maurice has aimed high, with his play, THE SILENCE CAME. Every recent Monday night his team, which includes a cast of 14 actors, have taken over the large heritage house, the Commons in Darlinghurst and put on a show.

The audience gathers pre-show in the Common’s courtyard, usually frequented by diners (The Common is usually a restaurant). At the appropriate time we are ushered in through the front door, and asked to have a look through the house which has three levels to it and features some seven bedrooms. We are each treated as prospective tenants, checking out the accommodation.

Continue reading THE SILENCE CAME

TWO ROOMS

Michael (Nick Dale), Ellen (Caroline Bywater),and  Lainie (Laura Huxley). Pic Peter Love
Michael (Nick Dale), Ellen (Caroline Bywater),and Lainie (Laura Huxley). Pic Peter Love

TWO ROOMS by Lee Blessing is set in the 1980s in two rooms, one in Washington and one in Beruit. The themes the play explores, however, are just as relevant today as they were then – perhaps showing how little interactions amongst political expediency, media, and personal tragedy have changed.

One room is a windowless cubicle in which the character Michael, played by Nick Dale, is held hostage by Arab terrorists. Back in Washington, Michael’s wife Lainie, played by Laura Huxley, has stripped his home office, covered the windows, and has a small carpet on the floor. Lainie and Michael speak to each other across a void of space and time until finally they are, in a sense, reunited.

Their personal love story, movingly portrayed by the actors is powerfully contrasted with the cold impersonal “work” motives of the other two characters.

The government official Ellen, played very coolly by Coralie Bywater, claims she is personally concerned with Laine. However, complete with false grin and platitudes of hope, she then states that the greater good – as decided by the government – is paramount. The journalist Walker (Eli King), whilst seemingly concerned with exposing the truth is also finally detached from the unfolding of the personal struggles of Michael and Lainie. Even the clothes that they wear, Michael’s outfits slowly deteriorating, contrasting with the elegant business outfits of Ellen, reinforce the difference in their status.

The artistic assistant Jeremy Hastings, lighting designer Christopher Page and assistant stage manager Gabriel Yakub have worked together with the director/designer Duncan Maurice to create a dim, often desolate atmosphere on stage enhancing the actors’ moods and thoughts. Evocative background music and the sparse use of projected images add to the portrayal of the story.

TWO ROOMS plays at the Tap Gallery until August 4, a worthwhile play which will continue to be as relevant as long as the Middle East situation remains volatile.