Theatre Excentrique under the informed , thoughtful direction of Anna Jahjah have brought to Sydney a fresh , exciting and challenging production of Eugene Ionesco’s EXIT THE KING , a classic example of his ‘absurdist’ works , in an updated translation featuring the baroque music of cellist/vocalist extraordinaire Sister Ursuline, it is a metaphysical meditation on death and preparing to die.
We enter a topsy turvy and shattered world where time is bent , fluid and changeable. King Bérenger the First is dying after an extremely long life. His kingdom is disintegrating . He no longer can head his army, tell the rain to fall, nor the trees to grow. He is dying and there is nothing he can do to prevent it. He has lived from moment to moment but now there is no more time .His first wife, Queen Marguerite , is obsessively keeping track of time. “You will die in 1 hour and 30 minutes!” she informs him. And the doctor agrees. But King Bereneger refuses to listen. He chooses instead to bask in the love of his second wife, Queen Marie. Suddenly there are just “1 hour and 13 minutes left!” .Or is it fifteen ?The clock is ticking… Surrounded by his two wives, his cleaning lady, his doctor and a guard, Bérenger has to learn to accept the inevitable .He struggles and rages against it but to no avail. Continue reading EXIT THE KING @ CHIPPEN STREET THEATRE→
Above Sister Ursuline on the cello and performer Gerry Sont. Featured image performer Gerry Sont.
This intense, strange, challenging, at times, confronting but wild and wonderful production by Theatre Excentrique is the Australian premier of Garcia’s fast paced play that criticises and analyses society and its greedy norms and expectations. It is chance to see an example of Garcia’s powerful, political and at times violent , controversial and contentious style.
The premise of Garcia’s provocative play, here translated by William Gregory, is that, having withdrawn his life savings, a lone dissolute father who has reached rock bottom (played by Gerry Sont) has devised a master plan to educate his two young sons , so they ‘splash the cash’ in style doing something mad : after discussion with his sons ( who actually want to go to Disneyland Paris) he develops a plan – at night, to break into the Prado Museum to see Goya’s black paintings ( Los Caprichos) while eating chorizo, drinking scotch and sniffing coke.
As well, they fly in a trendy celebrity philosopher from Germany as their guide to further improve their education. Much is made of the commercialism of Disneyland and there are great discussions about combating depression, economics, the meaning of life, economic versus emotional stability, the sacred versus the banal , our reason for existence and the power of love, all blurring the barriers of dreams and reality.
Newtown’s King Street Theatre is currently presenting a world premiere production of local playwright Steve McGrath’s new work, LEAVES. A co-production by Theatre Excentrique and Emu Productions directed by Markus Weber, the play is full of dark humour and is brought to life by three fine performances.
The show opens and we see film of three friends on their long hike to the remote site which then leads to their live appearance on stage. Their emergence is heralded with a clever soundscape including kookaburras guffawing. Weber’s marvelous set design includes a bush track with leaves, tree stumps and panels at the back acting as a projection screen. Continue reading Leaves @ King Street→
Director Marcus Weber told the audience before we went in last night that we were ‘privileged to see this play after its acclaimed premier season in France and now, finally on an Australian stage’. He also said it was ‘a pity that Australian Playwrights often have to work overseas’ for recognition.
I thought at the time that ‘privileged’ was quite a claim – but we were. This was easily the best play I’ve seen this year.