Sydney premiere. Starting at night on Jennifer and Bob Jones’s front porch, in a small mountain town, they meet and greet their brand new neighbours Pony and John Jones, who are now renting the house next door. Will Emo has carefully crafted a unique slow-burning and quite wistful play about two unrelated married couples absurdly both named Jones, who are getting to know each other, via highly eccentric and memorable Q and A.
Marriages under substantial stress, due to the constantly erratic but eclectic behaviour of both husbands. Praiseworthy direction by Julie Baz, and she has chosen an impeccable ensemble cast at the height of their craft, with each actor delivering earnest character-driven performances.
The two husbands, Bob Jones (Jeff Houston) and John Jones (David Jeffrey) are both dying, however they are keeping the exact same secret, that will be fully revealed in the Second Act. Discomfort easily generating laughter, their ever evolving back story, grows exponentially as multiple truths revealed.
Superb and outstanding production team, delivers this scorching drama, with exceptional character-driven performances from the entire fantastic cast, as expertly directed by Julie Baz, with a clever and very effective minimalist set designed by David Jeffrey. Pulitzer prize nominated classic dark drama FOOL FOR LOVE was written by American playwright/actor Sam Shepard.
Dark emotions/secrets are hidden within the fluctuating intimate relationship of off-and-on-again lovers May and Eddie. They are still-passionate former lovers who have met again, in her motel room located deep in the American South-West on the edge of the Mojave Desert. Premiered 8th February 1983 at the Magic Theatre in San Francisco, where Sam Shepard was the playwright-in-residence. Continue reading FOOL FOR LOVE in the LIMELIGHT ROOM @ Limelight on Oxford, DARLINGHURST→
Inspired by the life and work of the American poet Emily Dickinson, ALISON’S HOUSE by Susan Glaspell is a (lost) American classic and Pulitzer Prize winner. Motivated by a desire to bring iconic, but neglected plays written by women into contemporary consciousness, ALISON’S HOUSE is an integral part of The Depot Theatre’s 2018 Season. Continue reading ALISON’S HOUSE: PULITZER WINNING PLAY FOR DEPOT THEATRE→
Frank Bryant (David Jeffrey) has become a tutor, for an Open University English Literature course, entirely just for the money. He is an older middle-class professor, a career academic, and a high-functioning alcoholic, who had ambitions to be a great poet and is bored with his University job of teaching undergraduate English Literature. His first student Rita White (Emily McGowan) struts into his book-filled office.
Rita is an unhappy married hairdresser, down-to-earth and excessively talkative but often rambling, and now aged 26 years, she needs freedom and is driven to dedicate herself to receiving all of the education, that she failed to receive in school.
Rita brings all of her under-educated blunt honesty, to loudly challenge Frank’s deep intellect and limitless knowledge of literature. Each inspires the other to become more alive, and better live their lives. Socially inept Rita believes that she is trapped by her working class life and her husband, and the theme of identity emerges, because she changed her birth name from Susan to Rita. Rita believes that studying literature for twelve months, will give her the worldly knowledge that she needs to grow as a person.
Playwright Willy Russell has sleekly styled EDUCATING RITA with realistic character-driven dialogue, providing the perfect balance of humour and poignancy. The play is fast paced, dialogue intensive 120 minutes of theatre entertainment, full of purpose, comedy and pathos, as these two people, learn more about each other, the class system, and the many shortcomings of institutionalised education systems. Continue reading WILLY RUSSELL’S CLASSIC ‘EDUCATING RITA’ SPARKLES @ THE DEPOT→
A spellbinding experiment in comic magic realism by critically acclaimed Australian writer Paul Gilchrist, CRISTINA IN THE CUPBOARD comes to The Depot Theatre in Marrickville for a three week season in July. This story of an unusual retreat, and a remarkable victory plays 8pm Wed to Sat and 5pm Sun, 13 – 30 July 2016. Playful and provocative, CRISTINA IN THE CUPBOARD tells of one woman’s quest to live life entirely on her own terms.
Everyone needs time out. Not everyone does it like this. Cristina is a contemporary woman. Intelligent. Capable. But she’s not satisfied with what’s on offer. Life seems too small. So she takes the extraordinary step of withdrawing from society. Join Cristina on a breathtaking inner journey as she meets a host of fantastic, hyperbolic characters, navigates illusion, weathers dismay, and discovers wonder.
Paul Gilchrist is a Sydney-based writer and director. His work has been produced locally, interstate and overseas. He is the co-founder of subtlenuance, a company dedicated solely to the production of original Australian work. Originally produced by subtlenuance in 2013, this production is directed by Julie Baz (co-artistic director of The Depot Theatre) and designed by David Jeffrey (also co-artistic director), with assistant director, Lillian Silk and sound designer Thomas Moore. It features a terrific line up of some of Sydney’s indie theatre talent: Nyssa Hamilton, Teale Howie, David Jeffrey, Emily McGowan, Tasha O’Brien, Sarah Plummer, Lucy Quill and Rachael Williams.
The Depot Theatre is a not-for-profit theatre situated within and supported by the historic Addison Road Centre, a thriving inner west hub for culture, arts and the environment visited by over 200,000 people annually. The Depot Theatre challenges and entertains its audiences with theatre that is accessible, affordable and – most importantly – a really fun night out. Coming up next after CRISTINA IN THE CUPBOARD in their 2016 Season is the new Australian play, A NEST OF SKUNKS by James Balian & Roger Vickery and presented by Collaborations Theatre Group, followed by BIJOU – A CABARET OF SECRETS and Seduction, written and performed by Chrissie Shaw, presented by Small Shows Productions.
“The Depot Theatre punches well above its weight, presenting well-produced, confidently performed shows that both entertain and inspire.” WEEKEND NOTES
It would be absurd to walk into a lounge room you mistook for a toilet and find yourself trapped in a very funny play. It would be a bit like being born and then trying to work out where you are, who you are and if these are your absurd lines or if they have been written by an insecure, egotistical playwright.
The anonymous HE, well played by David Jeffrey, walks into a comfortable middle class lounge room, mistaking it for a toilet, sees the audience and is embarrassed. He attempts to go back out of the room but the door will not open. He unsuccessfully tries the doors on the other two walls which only leaves the invisible fourth wall. After some deliberately predictable miming the fourth wall does turn out to be impenetrable. Continue reading PLAYTHING @ DEPOT THEATRE MARRICKVILLE→
THROUGH A BEADED LASH is about ways of seeing. The character who coins the term in the play, now showing at the Depot Theatre, is Brent … in his drag persona as Catherine. Brent doesn’t actually want to be a woman. The long lashes and gowns and wigs are just a structure for expression. Drag is its own art. It’s about perception. I have never donned a beaded lash but, from the sidelines, I saw the world that Catherine inhabited and I was ready to go back. And I am so pleased to have had the opportunity.
Adam seems to be an observer too. He is closing up his gay bookshop on Oxford Street after 25 years. He has seen the ‘Golden Mile’ through its heyday. As has Zoe, his informal business partner. They have known each other since 1984 and shared each other’s loves and losses. Having made a packet selling to a developer, Adam is ready to move on but Zoe needs a little reflective time. She has brought with her a chest of treasures from the 1980s. Will these half remembered relics open them to remembering or end up in the skip with the useless shop fittings? Continue reading THROUGH A BEADED LASH @ THE DEPOT THEATRE→
Henrik Ibsen’s intense psychological drama, GHOSTS, was written in 1818 and first staged in Chicago Illinois the following year. Like many of Ibsen’s plays it is a scathing commentary on 19th century morality. Touching on issues such as free love, euthanasia, religious hypocrisy and venereal disease, the drama was reviled and dammed in the press of the time. This production, as translated by William Archer, is the second play to be presented by the recently formed Depot Theatre Company, previously the Sydney Independent Theatre Company.
The setting is the mid twentieth century and under the direction of Julie Baz the play comes to life and remains relevant to today’s audience.
GHOSTS opens with Jacob Engstrand, played with much sleaze and hypocritical virtue by Zac McKay, trying to convince as he tries to convince his purported daughter Regina to come work at the sailor’s establishment he wants to open. Emily McGowan plays Regina, a self-assured flirt at the start of the play, and is too proud of her job as Mrs. Alving’s maid to join her father.
Pastor Manders enters and tries to convince Regina to help her father. From the start David Jeffery brings out the self-righteous and unbending religious fervour and justification of everything the Pastor says and does.
Mrs Helen Alving is a complex character, a mix of a liberated and free thinking mind trapped within the conventions of her time. Julie Baz brings out the tormented nature of Helen’s struggle as she battles the ghosts of her sordid marriage and the consequences of her past decisions.
Helen is not the only victim, as it is soon revealed that her son Oswald, newly returned home after years pursuing a career as an artist in Paris, has terrible secrets of his own.
Steve Vincent as Oswald is very credible as he portrays his character’s gradual deterioration and the nature of his tormented relationship with his mother.
No one in the family is exempt from this growing web of lies and dark secrets.
We learn the truth of Helen’s maid Regina and her relationship with Helen’s late husband and the moral dilemmas that this poses. By the end Regina, as well as all the other characters, have their plans shattered and they are each forced to face the consequences of their past actions.
A plain but effective set by David Jeffery, and an evocative soundscape add to the power of this production as you can feel the audience’s emotions change in sympathy, encouragement or anger as the characters reveal their histories and their true selves.
Julie Baz’s revival of Henrik Ibsen’s classic play GHOSTS is playing at the Depot Theatre, Marrickville until Saturday 24th October. Performances are Wednesdays to Saturdays at 8pm and Sundays at 5pm.
CAST: – David Jeffrey- Pastor Manders, Zac McKay – Jacob Engstrand, Emily McGowan- Regina Engstrand, Julie Baz- Mrs Helen Alving, Steve Vincent- Oswald Alving.
It is with deep sadness that we announce that The Depot Theatre is over before it has begun and we are permanently withdrawing from the Sydney independent theatre arena after 20 years. We warmly and sincerely thank our supporters and our audiences, we will miss you very much. We are very proud of what we and our countless collaborators have achieved over the years and we hope our performances have impacted the lives of our audiences in some small way.
Co-Artistic Directors of the Sydney Independent Theatre Company (SITCO), David Jeffrey and Julie Baz, have announced that they will be ending their residency at the Old Fitzroy Theatre at the end of this year.
On the announcement on their Facebook page they thanked Robert Allan, SITCO’s Artistic Associate for his contributions, along with the many independent theatre practitioners who they have worked in tandem with to program and stage over 30 productions.
Their thanks also extends to the many staff and locals at the Old Fitz who they have been so helpful including Kristine and Mike Ballard, Cherilyn Price, Richard Hilliar, Katy Green Loughrey, Larry Kelly, Dino Dimitriadis and the Arts Platform.
Most importantly, they thank the many theatregoers around Sydney who have come to see one or indeed many of the shows performed at the theatre.
Theatregoers still have the opportunity to visit the venue till the end of the year.
Currently playing is Red Line Productions, in association with Strange Duck Productions’, HOWIE THE ROOKIE by Mark O’Rowe- (review on the site by Richard Cotter). HOWIE THE ROOKIE is followed by Fly on the Wall Theatre’s production of Alex Broun’s NOVEMBER SPAWNED A MONSTER and Copanirvana Theatre Co’s V.D. by Pete Malicki.
The final production of the year will be a SITCO production, in association with Talk Faster Productions and Harlos Production’s, Kieran Carroll and Angelika Fremd’s THE LES ROBINSON STORY & BELLE OF THE CROSS.
SITCO is keen to grow on the experience gained at the Old Fitz and is looking in to setting up a new independent theatre venue, something which the Sydney theatre scene could well do with.Here’s hoping!
Make no mistake. Thom Pain is not based on Thomas Paine, the great American political activist, theorist and revolutionary.
Thom Pain is based on nothing. It’s in the title. In parentheses. And besides, Thomas Paine spelt his name with an “e”. Though it was silent.
There’s not much silent about Thom Pain. He’s garrulous, though partial to the pause. For effect.
And very affecting it is.
Thom Pain enters the black box of the space in suit and loosened tie. We can’t see him, but we sense him in the dark. He tries to light a cigarette a couple of times without success. He can’t see the audience, but he senses it.
Peter Hayes’ character, the Minister for Transport, admits in an early scene that his little rant about, err, whatever it was, came straight from Hansard and this play at the Old Fitzroy Theatre certainly rings true. It is sometimes funny and moves along at a pace. Unfortunately, especially at this point in time, politics are so boring and, in my humble opinion, a bomb threat or actual ghosts were needed to make this piece truly exciting. There were three ”Heh”s, and one “Ha.” But only one big laugh from the audience all night! I also didn’t see the need for the Prologue or Epilogue. Sometimes I feel you need to trust the audience to “get it”!
I love the space at the Old Fitz. It’s intimate and steeply raked, making audiences feel very close to the action. I liked the set design, especially the elevator effect.
If an actor’s focus is on remembering his lines, he’ll probably forget them – and he may as well. But with that momentary glitch out of the way, the rest of the performances went swimmingly with characters coming and going through this ‘fishbowl’ expose of life in the corridors of power. There were obviously going to be stand outs in a cast of thirteen and the wealth of experience that director, Julie Baz has managed to assemble for this witty and often truthful presentation.
Worth mentioning are Peter Hayes as the Minister for Transport, Gertraud Ingeborg as the Premier and a cleaner (I always like it when you have to check the program to be sure!), David Ritchie as the Leader of the Opposition, a Journalist and Public, (although on Friday night something strange happened with his vocal character trait as the Journo!?) and Adrian Barnes’ rich characterisation of Mr Edgerton providing welcome colour. As I said, experience will out!
All in all it’s worth a look; if only as a reflection of the current political circus.
A Sydney Independent Theatre Company production directed by Julie Baz, Daniela Giorgi’s FRIDAY is playing at the Old Fitzroy Theatre until Saturday August 31, 2013.
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