Tag Archives: Jack Berry

THE ELEPHANT MAN: PLACED BETWEEN SCIENCE AND RELIGION

 

Production images: Chris Dunn

THE ELEPHANT MAN playing at PACT is a production which takes its responsibilities very seriously.  Avoiding any gratuitousness, it foregrounds the human spirit with respect for the material and a balance of storytelling and philosophy.  And a great deal of hard work for such a short season.  

Most people would know the story of Joseph Merrick, in this play named as John Merrick, known as The Elephant Man when he made a living being displayed in carnivals.  The 1981 film has a definitive performance by John Hurt as Merrick and Anthony Hopkins as his doctor Frederick Treves but the 1977 play by Bernard Pomerance has a different ethos.   Equally compassionate and compelling, the play is ultimately about the inability of science to be as great as religion. But it still relies on 2 important central performances. Continue reading THE ELEPHANT MAN: PLACED BETWEEN SCIENCE AND RELIGION

JANE BODIE’S ‘FOURPLAY’ @ THE BLOOD MOON THEATRE

There really are not enough small spaces around Sydney where emerging theatre companies can get a show up with their own resources and backing. Blood Moon Theatre is one that really supports independent theatre by its price structure and having some lighting and sound infrastructure. Phable Productions/ Marcia Lemm chose this theatre for their short season of FOURPLAY (2000) by Australian playwright Jane Bodie.

The opening of FOURPLAY, as written, sees the four characters listing the names of past lovers and relationships before the word ‘you’. This production wisely shortened that to the one word for each of the characters before moving on. We meet Alice (Marcia Lemm) and Tom (Jack Berry) rehearsing lines for a different play. He is an actor and she is an ex-actress, now a care-worker. They are evidently in a relationship but appear combative. Next we see Tom rehearsing with Natasha (Chantelle Von Appen) and there appears to be a different kind of tension. As the issues in Tom and Alice’s relationship worsen, Alice meets Jack (Evan Piefke). Jack is also a care-worker for the same client and their paths cross at the beginning and end of shifts. Jack appears very odd and Alice takes some time to choose to engage with him.

There are some very interesting notes in the Bodie’s script about which characters will engage with whom. About focus and perspective and eye contact and choices about naturalism in production with scope for non-naturalistic interpretations. This production chose a naturalistic physical setting with the theatre in an usual configuration. Sofa and tables on the floor as well as using the small stage, with the use of practical lamps and an overhead bulb to indicate place. It must have cost them a lot of seats but served the production well. Continue reading JANE BODIE’S ‘FOURPLAY’ @ THE BLOOD MOON THEATRE