Tag Archives: Ensemble Theatre Kirribilli

SEMINAR

Matthew Zeremes ( Martin) and Matilda Ridgeway (Kate). Pic Steve Lunam
Matthew Zeremes ( Martin) and Matilda Ridgeway (Kate). Pic Steve Lunam

American writer Theresa Rebeck’s 2011 play SEMINAR, the new production at the Ensemble Theatre, is well worth catching.

The  play features a very  lively clash,- Rebeck pits four  very keen, ambitious young writers in waiting against a brilliant but monster of a a writing coach. The writers,-Kate, Douglas, Izzy and Martin, each put down 5 thousand to take a 10 week writing course with the acerbic Leonard. Kate  is so keen that she offers  up the living room of her stylish New York as the venue for these seminars.

SEMINAR starts with our young writers starry eyed and full of enthusiasm, chatting away in Kate’s apartment as they wait for Leonard to arrive to deliver his first class.

Their enthusiasm soon takes a bit of a fall. Leonard’s first Seminar is a nightmare for young Kate. She shows her new  work to Leonard and he tears it to shreds. Rebeck has set up her play deftly. We, the audience, are thinking. How is this going to work out? Are we going to see blood on the floor, stemming from one of these writers?!

A highlight of SEMINAR is the way that it constantly changes direction….We are never quite sure how the play will ‘land’,- in a dark place or a place of light?!

Anna Crawford’s Australian premiere production  serves Rebeck’s play well. Crawford’s strong creative team is headed by designer Alisa Paterson who has come up with a memorable, finely detailed set, inspired by the  show’s original design.

A good cast bring Rebeck’s vibrant characters to life.

William Zappa delivers a master class in acting, as well as in writing, in his portrayal of Leonard.

Matilda Ridgway shines in the pick of the other roles. Her character, at first, comes across as a delicate, fawn like woman however as the play moves on, we see a much stronger person emerge.

Michelle Lim Davidson, who some will know as a regular presenter of Playschool, revels in playing the role of the racy, manipulative Izzy, Felix Gentle plays the priggish, highbrow Douglas, and Matthew Zeremes plays the introverted, tentative Martin.

Recommended, Anna Crawford’s production of Theresa Rebeck’s SEMINAR opened at the Ensemble Theatre, 78 McDougall Street, Kirribilli, on Wednesday August 21 and plays until Saturday September 14, 2013.

 

 

 

 

A PICASSO

Danny Adcock and Sharon Millerchip in Jeffrey Hatcher’s A PICASSO

The sparks keep flying in Nicole Buffoni’s strong production of American playwright Jeffrey Hatcher’s taut, engrossing drama, A PICASSO, currently playing at Kirribilli’s Ensemble Theatre.

The play starts with the great Pablo Picasso (Danny Adcock) pacing up and down a dark, underground bunker in German occupied Paris in 1941. The sound of Nazi storm-troopers marching in the streets comes from above.

A door opens and an attractive officer from the German Cultural Ministry, Miss Fischer (Sharon Millerchip), puts on the light and walks, slowly and deliberately, down the stairs.

Miss Fischer has been given firm, inviolable instructions from her bosses. The Gestapo is demanding that the great Spanish artist hand over A PICASSO or his freedom, even perhaps his life, will be taken away from him.

Creative artists are renowned for their intensity and passion. The great American writer Jack Kerouac once said, ‘I married my novels, and my short stories are my children’. Like-minded, Picasso does not agree to Miss Fischer’s deal, and a torrid, relentless encounter ensues.

They try to tear each other to shreds. Picasso despises the regime and it’s perniciousness, ‘Every week a pair of Germans visit to see if I’ve hidden any Jews in the kilns’. Miss Fischer tells Picasso, ‘Your Arts dealer was a Jew who ran away. I hear these days you hide gold in cupboards where soup should be’.

Miss Fischer rails at Picasso about the uselessness of the arts in such times, ‘Schubert’s music plays whilst the bombs fall. The bombs win’.

In one of the play’s many surprising reveals it comes out that Miss Fischer has come from a very cultured, middle-class background, and the two go on to argue and debate about politics, sexuality and religion as well as the value of art.

Like the characters that they inhabit, Danny Adcock and Sharon Millerchip give absolutely everything to their performances.

A compelling night at the theatre, Nicole Buffoni’s production of Jeffrey Hatcher’s A PICASSO opened at the Ensemble Theatre, 28 McDougall Street, Kirribilli, on Friday 28th September and plays until Saturday 20th October, 2012. Performance times vary. Check the Ensemble website- www.ensemble.com.au- for details.

(c) David Kary

An edited version of this review was published in the Australian Jewish News Sydney Volume 119, Friday 5th October, 2012

Tags: Sydney Theatre Reviews- A PICASSO, Jeffrey Hatcher, Nicole Buffoni, Danny Adcock, Sharon Millerchip, Ensemble Theatre.