Tag Archives: John Gaden

DIPLOMACY @ THE ENSEMBLE

This was a .great night of theatre brought to us by two of Australia’s theatrical legends.

The scenario. In  1944  at the Hotel Maurice, the Swedish diplomat Raoul Nordling and the German General Dietrich von Cholitz meet in a life and death situation for the city of Paris. On abandoning Paris, Hitler has ordered its destruction. Raoul has one night to persuade the General to leave the landmark city standing.

What we see is a battle of wills between the two men. We feel every bit of the battle and the shifts that so delicately take place. At first there seems little chance for Nordling to win the General and on more than one occasion he is shown the door yet somehow he always manages to come back.  Thankfully, in the end, he wins the General over and Paris is saved.  Continue reading DIPLOMACY @ THE ENSEMBLE

DIPLOMACY @ THE ENSEMBLE THEATRE

Featured image- John Bell and John Gaden in DIPLOMACY at the Ensemble Theatre. Pic Prudence Upton.

Paris, August 25th, 1944.  As the Allied Forces move closer to the city, Hitler has decided, in his ever-increasing delusional state, that if Germany can’t have Paris, then no-one will.  He has ordered the complete destruction of the city, so famous for its centuries of unique cultural history and beauty.

From this historical fact, French playwright, Cyril Gely, has created in DIPLOMACY, a fictional reason for Paris’ survival, a beautifully rich, philosophical and persuasive dialogue between two men – quite different by nature, but both very powerful in stature and personality.

Gely’s play was first performed in 2011 at Theatre de la Madeleine in Paris.  It was skilfully adapted and translated into English for John Bell’s Australian premiere by Julie Rose.  Gely also wrote the screenplay for the French movie based on his stage play, ‘Diplomatie’, which was shown at our 2015 French Film Festival.

Continue reading DIPLOMACY @ THE ENSEMBLE THEATRE

STATE MEMORIAL SERVICE FOR DAME LEONIE KRAMER @ SYDNEY CONSERVATORIUM OF MUSIC

Professor Marie Bashir delivering her moving tribute.
Professor Marie Bashir delivering her moving tribute.

Dame Leonie Kramer was a trailblazer for women in the world of academia and commerce. She was the first female Professor to be appointed the Chair of Literature at Sydney University, she was the first female Chancellor in Australia, and she was the first female Chair of the Australian Broadcasting Commission.

A State Memorial celebrating her life was held at the Verbrugghen Hall at the Sydney Conservatorium Of Music on Monday 27 June 2016.

Dame Leonie Kramer 1/10/1924-20/4/2016
Dame Leonie Kramer 1/10/1924-20/4/2016

Amongst the attendees were the New South Wales Governor, retired General David Hurley, former Prime Minister John  Howard accompanied by his wife Janette, Julie Bishop, Minister for Foreign Affairs, and current Chair of the ABC, Mr Jim Spiegelman.

Former Prime Minister John Howard greets Sister Jocelyn Kramer with his wife Janette Howard in the background.
Former Prime Minister John Howard greets Sister Jocelyn Kramer with his wife Janette Howard in the background.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop chats with current ABC Chairman Jim Spigelman
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop chats with current ABC Chairman Jim Spigelman
Governor David Hurley chats with his aide.
Governor David Hurley chats with his aide.

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In addition to moving reminiscences from her children and grandchildren, an especially moving tribute was delivered by former Governor and current Chancellor of Sydney University, Professor Marie Bashir.

John Gaden
One of the greats of Australian theatre John Gaden AM.

Highlights of the Service included readings from Cymbeline, The Tempest, and Credo recited by John Gaden, and a performance from Gilbert and Sullivan’s Gondoliers There Lived A King performed by David Hidden, Justice Peter Hidden and Judge Robert Cameron, accompanied by Sophie Spargo.

David & Justice Peter Hidden, Judge David Cameron with Sophie Spargo on piano.
David & Justice Peter Hidden, Judge David Cameron with Sophie Spargo on piano.

Dame Leone Kramer was innovative in that she was one of the first lecturers to invite Australian authors such as Les Murray and James McAuley to attend her lecturers and talk to the students, which excited them greatly.

When China began to open up to the world, amongst the first students to study overseas were nine Chinese students who were supervised by Dame Leone in the study of Australian literature. As a result there are a number of English faculties studying Australian literature throughout China. A tribute from The Gang Of Nine, as they were known, was read by Mr Yu Zhang.

Mr Yu Zhang delivers his poignant tribute representing ‘The Gang of Nine’.

 

Seventeen @ Belvoir Street

Seventeen- inset
Two legends of the Australian theatre as well as being great friends, John Gaden and Peter Carroll. Production photography by Brett Boardman

Theatremakers are often adventurous people. They try to come up with a new slants, new approaches to their subjects, to make the theatrical experience brighter, bolder and more interesting. One has to admire their risk taking, their courage, though the results of this experimentation can be quite varied.

For his new play SEVENTEEN, Matthew Whittet has chosen a subject that, over time,  has been popular for dramatists to explore, the experiences of young people on the verge/the cusp of adulthood. Through the play we follow the adventures/experiences of a group of teenagers as they celebrate their first night of freedom after twelve long years of schooling. A lot ‘goes down’ before the sun rises. Continue reading Seventeen @ Belvoir Street