Tag Archives: Danielle O’Keefe

TEACUP IN A STORM @ THE JOAN SUTHERLAND PERFORMING ARTS CENTRE

 

Teacup 1

TEACUP IN A STORM  is an original production by The Q, a theatre program that operates out of The Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre in Penrith. It tells the stories of carers, drawn from a series of interviews with these carers from the local community. It is an engrossing piece of theatre. The stories are well presented and engaging.

The two excellent performers, Therese Cook and Marie Chanel, cover numerous roles ranging from carers, to those in need of care and to those in bureaucracy. There is no plot or classical dramatic structure. We are treated to a series of vignettes from the lives of ordinary people, who respond in a various ways to the situations they are in.

There is a mother of an autistic child who says that on a good day her child is wonderful and a delight to be with, but at other times you just do the best you can. She spends a lot of time explaining to this to  other people and trying to educate them about the condition.

Another character talks about how her childhood was ruined by “her ugly sister Ruth” and her inexplicable tantrums and screaming, and how she spent as much time away from the family when she was young and then finally left home as soon as she was old enough. As other family members passed away she was left to reluctantly deal with Ruth, which again ruined the relatively normal life she had built for herself.

All these carers have immense difficulty dealing with bureaucrats. They are told that the person they need to deal with is not available or another department will deal with their situation or there is another hurdle to overcome before moving to the next stage of the process.

There are some warm and inspiring characters talking about their foster children or their partner with dementia. Love and affection are recurring themes, as is the drinking cups of tea.

The production is very impressive in the way it has woven fairy tales and a recurring use of buckets into the drama. A lot of the drama is constructed by very clever use of sound, light and the different components of the fixed set.  In this regard, there is excellent work by designer Jonathon Hindmarsh, sound designer Danielle O’Keefe and lighting designer Liam O’Keefe.

Creators Nick Atkins, Noëlle Janaczewska, Therese Cook and Marie Chanel are to be congratulated for taking what could be a good and worthy and hand wringing topic and turning it into an excellent piece of theatre with a strong message. It deserves a wider audience.

This production played at the Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre between the 25th and the 27th February.

Teacup 2

The Trolleys @ ATYP Studio 1

The-Trolleys-Body

As the birth-given amber flame inside sputters towards its inexorable, inevitable fading, we older folk often turn reflective. Searching for a moral? Not really. If we are old shouldn’t we have that already? Meaning? Perhaps, but of what? The metaphysic? Surely that answer awaits us at the extinguishment. THE TROLLEYS, playing at the Australian Theatre for Young People, burns with a gentle, compelling glow as it softly illuminates a path to reflection for any audience, young or old.

In a dystopian future we are confronted initially with darkness. A figure clutching a waning orangey light in a jar moves towards us. As her light disappears, shockingly so does she. A new figure arrives to lovingly clear away the dust of the departed, then to scurry away. A motley, dirty crew of 6 children wake and cluster to become the protagonists of the story. They call themselves The Trolleys after the way each carries their meagre belongings. Their small society is self-sufficient with clear rules to keep them safe. But they know what happens when the light in their ever-present jar fails. Continue reading The Trolleys @ ATYP Studio 1

The Little Mermaid

Natalie Roberts with three of her mermaids
Producer an d also the only adult performer Natalie Richards with three of her mermaids

A recent academic study conducted about the British Performing Arts (2011-2012) reported that only 38% of people working within the industry were women. This almost 2:1 ratio favoring men has been taken up and there is a momentum gathering worldwide for this gender imbalance to be redressed.

ATYP can be very proud of its record and THE LITTLE MERMAID: Not Suitable for Children cements its reputation for supporting young artists who might well become the vanguard of the equity battle.  There are 23 young women in this show. Not all of whom will become professionals but they are the audiences and the benefactors of theatre into the next decades.

Starting from a pretty girlie topic: fairy stories, this production immerses the audience in an experiential rendering of the Hans Christian Anderson’s original, dark tale.  The mermaid falls for the prince she meets when visiting land.  She sacrifices all she knows but it is not enough.  Director Danielle O’Keefe in her program notes, refers to the mermaid as an “ambitious, heroic, lost, lonely girl”.  We meet 23 of them blended into the telling of the story. Continue reading The Little Mermaid