The new custodians of The Old Fitz theatre, Red Line Productions, have invited a fringe favourite, MASTERCLASS, to kick off their inaugural season.
Written and performed by Gareth Davies and Charlie Garber, this entertaining existentialist two hander is an acerbic and absurd examination of celebrity and the deification of thespians.
Peppered with all the pretentions that can pitfall performers, MASTERCLASS tends to pratfall in its pricking, loading up the ludicrous to lethal levels.
The theatrical expressions of “knocking them dead” and “killing the audience” takes on a literalness when it is stated that Gareth’s acting eminence arose from a performance that had showgoers shuffling off their mortal coil. Continue reading Masterclass @ The Old Fitz→
I recently had a chat with Anthony Skuse who is adapting and directing the upcoming production of Anton Chekhov’s PLATANOV (1878) which is moving into the ATYP Studio theatre in early November.
Skuse spoke of how the great Russian playwight wrote this work, his first full length piece, when he was only 21 years old. The piece was originally untitled and is also known as Fatherlessness and A Play Without A Title.
A sensitive young writer, he had the play locked in his desk drawer for many years, wary of showing it to anyone, in fear of rejection.
“The piece is a bit of a messy, sprawling work. If it was produced in its raw form it would run for about five hours. I have kept the play in its original setting and time period (Russia in 1881) but have cut the play back to a couple of hours and reduced the number of characters from twenty to fifteen, each part played by a different actor.
“PLATANOV is very much a work by a young writer. Chekhov puts everything into it. His love of theatre comes through very clearly. The themes espoused in the play are themes that Chekhov would explore throughout his career.”
The play follows a group of intense young people, led by the main character Platanov at a very touchy point in their lives. In their twenties, they are seeing the passion and idealism of youth become more and more tempered by the coldness and harshness of life experience. This has led them to feel disillusioned, even more to the point angry, that life isn’t turning out they want it to.
“I expect that audiences will have quite a strong and personal reaction to this production. I want it to be an intimate production. How I want people to experience the show is that it will be like they are seeing these young people’s lives, relationships and where things go wrong played out in front of them,
“Last year we workshopped the piece and one of the women who saw it said, “Oh my God, I feel like I am seeing my life before me.”
Skuse says that rehearsals are going really well, and that there has been a great atmosphere in the room working with some of the finest young acting talent in Sydney. The cast includes actors of the calibre of Charlie Garber, Geraldine Hakewill, Matilda Ridgway, Terry Karabelas and Sam Trotmen
Stage and screen actor Garber plays the title role, a character who sounds very intriguing. He is a laid back provincial school teacher who women are irresistibly drawn to even though he is not exactly single. Included amongst his female admirers are a widowed landowner, her younger stepdaughter, and an earnest chemistry student.
In an interesting aside, Skuse told me that he was happy to be able to put on the show now before the Sydney Theatre Company produce their own mainstream production of PLATANOV, in a new adaptation by STC Artistic Director Andrew Upton titled THE PRESENT, in August next year, starring Richard Roxburgh and Cate Blanchett.
Put this show in your diary. It looks like it will be worth seeing. A Cat Nip and Mophead production, Anthony Skuse’s adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s PLATANOV is playing at the ATYP Studio Theatre, previewing on the 5th and 6th November, opening on the 7th and then playing until the 22nd November. Performances are Tuesdays to Saturdays at 7pm and Sunday matinees at 5pm.
The Guide has two double passes to give away, if you can make either of the two preview nights. Be one of the first to email the editor on:-firstname.lastname@example.org.
In a witty, fresh translation – yes in rhyming couplets – by Justin Fleming, Bell Shakespeare brings us a wickedly delightful new version of Moliere’s TARTUFFE. It has been updated to Sydney now, with Australian slang and accents and works wonderfully. Fleming’s translation remains faithful to Moliere’s text while rearranging the 12-syllable lines of rhyming couplets to suit the English language. The younger audience especially loved it and were in stitches.
The play is still extremely relevant to today. Above all it examines the fake hype and religious fervour, the search for religious meaning in late middle age, that the pious swindler Tartuffe shams, Rasputin like, – a veritable Napoleon of a TV evangelist con man. Continue reading Tartuffe→
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