Even at this advanced age and after a lifetime immersed in performing arts, it never ceases to amaze what live theatre can do. Brilliant productions soothe that intellectual itch for stories, fetching complex characters to populate a richly defined place such that you lean forward in your seat and crane your head across the wide stage to make sure you don’t miss anything. And then a detail hits you square on to draw the breath. For me, last night at THE SUGAR HOUSE playing at Belvoir, it was Nana’s brooch. Unbidden tears of recognition foregrounding the recognition of investment, only the live can do that! Continue reading THE SUGAR HOUSE: SYDNEY LIVES
THE CHILDREN by Lucy Kirkwood opens with 3 still scenes. Each of the three characters, singly. Each alone. Each in their own world. Throughout the show each, at some stage, will command the intimate, warm space in a cottage surrounded by sea. This is where Hazel comforts her inner self, where her husband Robin comes home to nest and be taken care of and where interloper Rose relives the bloom moments of a youth long gone. Each individual with the potential to put aside their history in search of a future for the children: Miller-like, all the children. Continue reading THE CHILDREN: POWER ,PHYSICS AND THE TRIANGLE.
“As long as she thinks of a man, nobody objects to a woman thinking.”
― Virginia Woolf, Orlando
Understanding Orlando andVirginia Woolf, the first in a a new series of inspirational and informative talks presented by the Sydney Opera House, under the umbrella title CULTURE CLUB, took place in the wonderful setting of the Utzon Room and featured the glorious backdrop of Sydney Harbour with sea-craft sailing by and a jeweled, gently billowing and pulsating sea.
With a packed audience listening intently this talk, co-presented by Professor Annamarie Jagose and Sarah Goodes was all about Virginia Woolf and Orlando, the current magnificent Sydney Theatre Company production on at the moment in the Drama Theatre starring the brilliant Jacqueline McKenzie. Continue reading SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE PRESENTS CULTURE CLUB: UNDERSTANDING ORLANDO AND VIRGINIA WOOLF
I have just come home from seeing Switzerland. Joanne Murray Smith’s play is is as exotic, breath-taking and at times frosty as the great European tourist destination.
This latest work is a bold, inspired flight of the imagination. A great fan of American mystery writer Patricia Highsmith’s work, Murray-Smith has written a play in her style and included her as the central character.
A masterful choice, as Highsmith makes for a great dramatic character. She was a very cantankerous, eccentric even bizarre woman who you can’t help but be drawn to. Continue reading Switzerland
In British playwright Lucy Prebble’s play THE EFFECT two game young people, psychology student Connie (Anna McGahan) and charming drifter Tristan (Mark Leonard Winter) are volunteers in the clinical trial of a new anti-depressant super drug. Forties something psychiatrist Dr James (Angie Milliken) administers the trial over a four week period under the supervision of Dr Toby (Eugene Gilfedder) in residential quarters inside the pharmaceutical company premises.
Connie and Tristan spend a lot of time in each other’s company and, against all the rules, they start to fall for each other. Their romance threatens to play havoc with the rigor of the trial.
It’s an intriguing scenario for what turns out to be an engrossing night in the theatre.
The play’s intense tone is set very early on when Dr James comes on stage with a human brain in her hand, a moment that brings to mind the classic graveyard scene in Hamlet.
The audience is drawn in to following the four feisty characters and the conflicts that emerge between the two pairings. Tristan and Connie argue as to whether the feelings emerging between them are natural or the result of being under the influence?!
Dr James and Dr Toby come from polar opposite positions of the psych drug debate. Dr James sees drugs as often being the soft option, Dr Toby believe they are the genuine balm for depressive illness.
The four actors, Angie Milliken and Eugene Gilfedder as the medicos and Anna McGahan and Mark Leonard Winter as the bold youngsters, ‘hold’ their characters well.
Sarah Goodes’s production serves the play well. Highlights from the design team were Renee Mulder’s set which clearly portrayed the play’s very clinical, hospital setting, and Guy Webster’s edgy, contemporary soundscape.
The effect of Prebble’s play is that the arguments and debates between the characters reverberate long after the show has come to an end.
To end on a quote from the Bard.
‘What a piece of work is man…how noble in reason, how infinite in faculties, in form and moving how express and admirable, in action how like an angel, in apprehension how like a god! The beauty of the world, the paragon of animals- and yet, what is this quintessence of dust? Man delights not me-’
I guess Shakespeare would be on anti-depressants if he was alive now. A diluted Shakespeare. An awful thing to contemplate.
Recommended, a joint Sydney Theatre Company and Queensland Theatre Company production, Lucy Prebble’s THE EFFECT opened at Wharf 1, Sydney Theatre Company on Saturday 12th July and is playing until Saturday 16th August, 2014.