Theatre

THE ELEPHANT MAN: SOON FROM EXIT GAME PRODUCTIONS

The Elephant Man by Bernard Pomerance at PACT Centre                                                                                  William Jordan as Ross (top); Nicholas Gledhill as Treves (left); Harley Connor as Merrick (centre); Marty O\’Neill (right).                                                                                                                                            Photo by Emma Wright.

The Tony award-winning drama THE ELEPHANT MAN comes to PACT Centre for Emerging Artists for a limited season this August (5 performances only).

Set in Victorian England, "The Elephant Man" tells the tale of John Merrick, a hideously deformed man with a soul of perfection. Born with a genetic disorder, which made his head, right arm and right leg grossly large, his skin loose and smelly, he is ridiculed by all and left to languish in a freak show. 

Merrick is saved by Frederick Treves, a well-meaning doctor, who gives him refuge in a London hospital, where he lives out his life and is befriended by London's glitterati who are drawn to his sweet disposition and intelligent mind.

The production is directed by Debbie Smith and featuring Harley Connor as John Merrick ,”The Elephant Man”, and Nicholas Gledhill as Dr Frederick Treves.

THE ELEPHANT MAN [Facebook]  from Exit Game Productions will play at PACT August 22 – 25. Bookings at Trybooking.

WHITEWASH: SOON FROM BOHEMIA THEATRE

WHITEWASH by Jodie Wolf is soon to be presented by Bohemia Theatre.

WHITEWASH is a play centred around a dysfunctional family in South East London. The play explores madness, secrets and lies.

Are we all born mad and we suppress it? Does it lay dormant within us until something clicks that switch? Is it simply society that keeps us all in check or are we all in fact completely bonkers and pretending not to be?

We love our families, but maybe we need to accept, that sometimes they’re not healthy for us to be around.  Maybe we need to take a breath, take a moment and remember who we’re.

WHITEWASH [Facebook Event] by Bohemia Theatre [Facebook] will play at Blood Moon Theatre [ Facebook] 2-4 August.  Tickets at Eventbrite.

YOU GOT OLDER: GRACE AND COURAGE TO INSPIRE

Production photography: Clare Hawley

The program for YOU GOT OLDER speaks of love and grief but, for me, the richest part of the work is about courage.  When someone, and their family, suddenly joins ‘cancer club’ nothing stays as it was.  It’s the courage not to be bowed by the experience, physical, emotional and spiritual.  The courage to let some things slide and let some get away and take some on full tilt.  It might not feel like bravery at the time but for so many us, it is being able to continue a tradition with undiminished joy, not broken down by the overwhelming grief of loss.  That’s where we do honour, when we come to together to dance like no-one else is watching.  And this family has done it twice.

Mae is home.  In Wenatchee, driving distance to Seattle.  She has the luxury of being with her widowed Dad as he takes on his battle with a rare and aggressive form of cancer because she has been dumped, and fired, by her boyfriend boss.  When Dad goes in for an aggressive treatment the other siblings gather. Jenny, little sister, Mathew, middle brother and Hannah, older sister. The play, though, is really the story of Mae and Dad.  And Mae’s psychosexual debasement fantasy intruder-cowboy who seems to be appearing to her, waking and sleeping.   There’s a real-life man too, local and available, Mac.  And he and Mae have tit-for-tat fetishes which may well make them ideal for each other. Continue reading YOU GOT OLDER: GRACE AND COURAGE TO INSPIRE

I HOPE IT IS NOT RAINING IN LONDON

This image -Jack Twelvetree and Taylor Reece                                                                                                           Featured image – Nicholas Thoroughgood and Cassie McLean.
Photo – Riley McLean

I Hope It’s Not Raining in London by Nicholas Thoroughgood,  Bearfoot Theatre.

First up, eighteen year old Nicholas Thoroughgood’s I HOPE IT’S NOT RAINING IN LONDON put me in mind of the plays from the Absurdist group of playwrights – Beckett, Albee, Pinter and so on.

Two people trapped in a room. One is almost finished but the other is not yet ready. The other will be ready, but just not yet.

The roots of Absurdism are the held in the principles that we are isolated existents – we are born, we live, we die. Along the way we form loving, often dysfunctional co-dependent relationships that cause combinations of deep emotional pain, joy, a sense of belonging and/or give purpose and relevance to our existence. Continue reading I HOPE IT IS NOT RAINING IN LONDON

‘BRING IT ON’ AND ‘LEAP OF FAITH’ PLUS A CABARET NIGHT – BUSY BUSY AT NSTC

Not content with the Opening Night of BRING IT ON THE MUSICAL happening on Friday, North Shore Theatre Company have 2 other shows in rehearsal.

Sprinkled with sass and inspired by the hit film, BRING IT ON THE MUSICAL will take you on a high-flying journey that is filled with the complexities of friendship, jealousy, betrayal and forgiveness.

With a colourful assortment of characters, an exciting fresh sound and explosive choreography, this hilarious universal story is sure to be everything that you hoped for and nothing like you expected.

BRING IT ON THE MUSICAL [Facebook Event] information and bookings can be found here. 

Continue reading ‘BRING IT ON’ AND ‘LEAP OF FAITH’ PLUS A CABARET NIGHT – BUSY BUSY AT NSTC

‘HOTEL SORRENTO’- AN INTERVIEW WITH WAL (DENNIS COARD)

This image: Dennis Coard
Featured image: Dennis Coard as Wal with Saxon Gray, Joanne Booth and Ruth Caro.                                   Production photos: Cathy Ronalds

SAG:  What drew you to this project?  Was it the part of Wal or the play itself? How do you see Wal?

DENNIS:      There have been over 50 productions and a feature film of Hannie Rayson’s “Hotel Sorrento”. I haven’t seen the film but I did see Hit’s production of the play many years ago, and I really liked the character of Wal – now I’m old enough to play the role so I was delighted to accept the offer when it came.

Wal is a good man and a good father but probably not the best of husbands, over his life he would have spent more time with his mates than he did with his wife. So, while he loved her he probably didn’t really listen to her or understand how she felt. Continue reading ‘HOTEL SORRENTO’- AN INTERVIEW WITH WAL (DENNIS COARD)

GAYBIES: A NEW STAGING FROM YOUTH THEATRE JOPUKA

 

This image: Elyse Hayhurst
Featured image: Miranda Michalowski

Jopuka Productions, the Central Coast’s only not-for-profit youth arts theatre company, will make its first foray into political theatre with a new staging of the renowned Australian production GAYBIES in July.

Written by Helpmann Award winner Dean Bryant, GAYBIES  received rave reviews when it was first staged as a reading at Melbourne’s Midsumma Festival in 2013. Bryant wrote GAYBIES to inspire and inform the public on what it is like to grow up in families that were once considered hypothetical but are now controversial. It answers the question typically posed of such families: “But what about the children?” Continue reading GAYBIES: A NEW STAGING FROM YOUTH THEATRE JOPUKA

WHICH WAY HOME : AN INTERVIEW WITH THE CAST

Production photography: Snehargho Ghosh

The smash-hit success of the 2017 Sydney Festival, WHICH WAY HOME is on tour and returning to Sydney, playing at the Seymour Centre.   To celebrate its return The Guide has had the pleasure of sending through some questions to Writer/ Performer Katie Beckett and Performer Kamahi Djordon King.

Tash and her Dad are going on a trip. It’s a long way from the wide streets and big old houses of Tash’s childhood. Two Black faces in a very white suburb. Dad still thinks he’s the king-of-cool, but he’s an old fella now, it’s time for Tash to take him home. Home to country, where the sky is higher and the world goes on forever. WHICH WAY HOME is a road-trip comedy 80,000 years in the making.

Katie Beckett

SAG:  Katie, thank you for speaking with our readers.  Can I start at the beginning, this is obviously a passion project?  It’s partly autobiographical isn’t it, you have spoken of it as a letter of sorts to your dad? 

KATIE:   I wrote as a way of healing and dealing with what I thought at the time of the impending death of my dad. Luckily he didn’t die and is still alive today even coming on the tour with myself and my son.

SAG:  That must be nice, having family along must make touring a bit easier.  It’s been a very successful and important show. Back when, what made you think, originally, it would make a good theatre piece?

KATIE:  I didn’t know or even think it would be good theatre but I think the audience see the love in the piece.  I think if you write with an open heart and honesty it comes through. There is warmth and love in Which Way Home though. 

SAG:   It is a well loved work and the reviews all mention that warmth and humour  but I imagine there are some more serious themes for the audience to take out of the theatre with them?

Yes, there are serious themes. I think growing up as a First Nations person in Australia it’s unavoidable. With the inter generational trauma, and the history of this country its affects you growing up whether you realise it or not. And the greater population need to realise this. They say it takes 7 generations to heal from what has happened before.

Since invasion myself I’m barely third generation. My grandmother was still a semi traditional woman. The truth of Australian history needs to be taught and acknowledge. Before the healing process can begin. If we don’t acknowledge the past, we aren’t fully living in the present, therefore our future wont be at its fullest potential. The past is the only way to learn to move forward and to grow.

SAG:   I’m always interested in how a work changes when it comes off the page.  Being one of the two actors in show you were right there. How did working with Director Rachael Maza and Dramaturge Jane Bodie influence the final script of WHICH WAY HOME?

KATIE:   Rachel has been part of the work from the very beginning. It has always been my vision with Jane and Rachel helping me create the work. But I was just the writer and actor on the piece and I knew once I handed the work over to the director it would be put on stage in her interpretation of the work, like any other theatre piece.

SAG:  Congratulations on the success of WHICH WAY HOME, are you working on something at the moment that we can look forward to?

KATIE:  Yes, I am working on other pieces. I have just finished writing on “The Heights.” with Matchbox and ABC, a new kids web series i have created and writing, the Balnaves piece and a new work with the Arts Centre Melbourne. All works will have family comedy drama dynamic which I love to work with.

SAG:  Thanks for taking the time to speak with our readers, I am so looking forward to seeing the show here in Sydney.

Kamahi Djordon King

SAG:   Thanks for speaking with us.  Can I ask about the beginnings of the project? What drew you to be part of WHICH WAY HOME?

KAMAHI:  This was interesting, as I had just met Kate at an indigenous theatre forum in Brisbane a year earlier. The next thing I know she calls me up and asks me to play her dad in her play. I had heard about it but because I live in Katherine NT I had not seen it. A friend of mine Tony Briggs was touring with it at the time. I asked her how old she was and we worked out that I would have been 13 when I became her dad that was a challenge, so I said yes

SAG:  I think you like a challenge! You have an amazing skill set and creative practice – latex artworks to singing. WHICH WAY HOME has a delicate balance between humour and pathos, it must be a bit of a multi-skilled workout?

 KAMAHI:   It is all about the timing. I have a diary for two people these days. Constantina seems to be overshadowing me by miles for bookings but that’s okay as I need a break sometimes. However I am one of the singers with Yothu Yindi and the Treaty Project so we are coming up to a par I would say. The latex and art work takes up my time when we aren’t touring with a show. 

SAG:  Ah, Constantina.  Your female alter-ego Constantina Bush, will she be accompanying you on the national tour?

 KAMAHI:   Yes she will be. She makes an appearance in both Mildura where she has a strong fan base and in Canberra.

SAG:  This character though is based on writer Katie Beckett’s own family situation and she is also performing in the piece, does that influence your process in creating the character off the page?

 KAMAHI:   It does and it doesn’t as I have only met her father recently after getting the play up and running. Kate has an extraordinary ability to switch between the position as the writer or the performer but only is one or the other when the director needs her to be.   As she is very generous, I have been able to create and own my character without the influence of her family connection and she works with whatever I bring.

SAG:   I recently had the chance to see Ian Michael in HART and I thought then, why do we not see more wonderful indigenous men like this on the Australian stage. Is Tash’s Dad the kind of character you would like to see more of? And how might this happen?

KAMAHI:    Yes as he is a very loving and caring character that has his flaws as well. You see both but the love outweighs the negatives of the character.

The only way to see more of these characters is for Aboriginal people to write and create their own theatre with a focus on the positives. As when other people write for us it seems in their political correct world they strive to show the gaps in the divide between the races by trying to write for us from a sympathetic view but in reality it comes across as tokenistic and stereo typed.

SAG:  I am so looking forward to meeting him when I see your show here. Thank you again and best wishes for a successful tour.

 KAMAHI:   You’re most welcome. See you out there on tour some where!

WHICH WAY HOME from ILBIJERRI Theatre Company [Facebook] and Seymour Centre [Facebook] will play 24th July – 4th August.

Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 7.30pm, Saturdays 2pm and 7.30pm. Wednesday 11am (with Q&A) and 7.30pm. Tuesday 31st July 6.30pm (with Q&A)

WOLF LULLABY: BLACKOUT THEATRE’S USUAL HIGH QUALITY

WOLF LULLABY from Blackout Theatre Company has sadly finished its run but the quality of, and the work that has gone into, the production is one of the reasons why I am such a champion of this community theatre.  This production was very thoughtfully constructed and acted, it brought a good sense of mystery and the themes were explored at no expense of the story.   Just all round good theatre-going.

Written by Hilary Bell, WOLF LULLABY has a complex theme at its heart, are children capable of evil? In a small Tasmanian town, we meet 9 year old Lizzie who is obviously naughty and over active.  It is after school and she is hanging out at her mother’s hairdressing salon, being annoying when Angela is giving a cut to Warren who is Lizzie’s dad.  Though the parents are divorced they appear to remain on good terms.  The only other character is Sergeant Ray Armstrong, the local copper and it falls to him to investigate the murder of a two and a half year old who is found in one of the local kids’ hangout.  Lizzie, who has nightmares about a wolf, may be implicated in the toddler’s death. Continue reading WOLF LULLABY: BLACKOUT THEATRE’S USUAL HIGH QUALITY

THE UNEXPECTED GUEST @ THE GENESIAN THEATRE

The new show at the Genesian Theatre is an Agatha Christie murder mystery which is sure to bring good houses to this lovely inner city venue.  As always it is the interesting group of characters which bring Christie’s work vividly to life.

The setting is the living room of a country estate with a door out to the patio. The plot revolves around a gruesome discovery made by one Michael Starkwedder. One night his car goes into a ditch and he seeks help from a local house. No-one responds to his knocks, but he goes in  through the unlocked balcony to find a dead man in a wheelchair, one Richard Warwick. In the corner stands wife Laura, a woman in shock, with a gun in her hand. Continue reading THE UNEXPECTED GUEST @ THE GENESIAN THEATRE

GOOD LUCK SHE WHISPERED: STUPID F***ING BIRD.

Production photography: © Bob Seary

STUPID FUCKING BIRD was written by Aaron Posner, an American playwright with a penchant for re-imagining classics like Twain and Chekhov.  It was first produced in 2013 at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company in Washington.

So far, so good. Makes sense, yeah?

Now… it is based on, and has a dissonance of characters from, THE SEAGULL.

Goood. Easy so far.

This play contemporises and distils Chekhov’s remonstrances about art, making art, consuming art and critiquing art. Continue reading GOOD LUCK SHE WHISPERED: STUPID F***ING BIRD.