Sunday, May 19, 2013
THE MAYDAY! Playwrights' Festival at the Tap Gallery, Darlinghurst.
THE MAYDAY! Playwrights' Festival organised and produced by Augusta Supple and Jeremy Waters at the Tap Gallery is a three week, three-program event, swiftly organised to fill the sudden void, an empty space, a freed up time vacancy at Tap Gallery.
Week 1 has six monologues from the '7 On Playwrights' recently published collection of works by Federation Press: NO NUDITY, WEAPONS OR NAKED FLAMES.
The World's Tiniest Monkey by Vanessa Blake, performed by Megan Drury. Ella by Verity Laughton, performed by Alice Ansara. A Cleansing Force by Donna Abela, performed by Suz Mawer. iSpiderman by Noelle Janaczewska, performed by Stephen Wilkinson. Della's Clothes by Hilary Bell, performed by Kate Skinner. Sex-Ed by Ned Manning performed by Jennifer White.
The works were well-directed by Augusta Supple and organised into a free-flowing program. I enjoyed and took special note of Hilary Bell's gently moving, DELLA'S CLOTHES. I enjoyed ELLA by Verity Laughton. As you all know, that is, those of you who read my diary, this form of theatrical presentation is not my favourite way to spend time in the theatre, and I have, perhaps, I regret to say, reached my point of tolerance. No more monologues - bring another character on, let's have an interaction with some argument-drama. Bring on someone else- wow! - three characters on stage, talking to each other. "Amazing", I'd say. Wouldn't it be terrific to have a scene, a sketch, a little play ... ? The monologue has become a bore, for me, a scourge of the Sydney Theatre experience. I, now, approach them with a sense of duty. And, one out of six seems to be, in my recent program going, the success rate. See, THE POLITICAL HEARTS OF CHILDREN.
Please, I appreciate the effort of all and this night is well done. It is terrific that the theatre is been used for performance and not sitting empty. It is a terrific thing to have organised this festival of writing. It is a terrific thing that the writers experience the process of their words being made 'flesh'. It is a terrific thing that they can participate with an audience response to their 'labours' of love. Can we encourage a little more exploration of the dramatic form?
Terrific is defined in my Australian Macquarie Dictionary: 1. causing terror, terrifying. the next colloquial definition: 2. extraordinarily great, intense etc or 3. very good. ... does not register with my experience of this programming at all.
Two more weeks, two more programs. Week 2: 15th - 19th May. Week 3: 22nd - 25th May.
Thanks Ms Supple and Mr Waters for your enterprise and generosity. Best wishes.
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Carriageworks presents The Australian Premiere of BIRDS WITH SKYMIRRORS, Choreographed by Lemi Ponifasio on his company, Mau, in Bay 17, Carriageworks, Redfern.
MAU is a dance/theatre Company based in Auckland, New Zealand, and led by Samoan, Lemi Ponifasio who presented BIRDS WITH SKYMIRRORS at Carriageworks. This international company were last in Sydney as part of the 2010 Sydney Festival with THE TEMPEST.
Mr Ponifasio does not willingly use the word dance, or, even theatre, to describe his work, he prefers 'karanga", which means "a genealogical prayer, a ceremony,a poetic space." He wishes to activate the space to create a sort of cosmological space to help us realise that we are part of the whole process of earth. I like the idea that we are, while watching his work, a part of a process in time, in participation with the work, not just observers of it, the experience is part of the evolution of the world about us - to help us find in the struggle of the everyday, our perspective and responsibility in the evolving cosmos. That to watch MIRRORS WITH SKYBIRDS is to immerse oneself into a view of our present, presence, in the space and time of our world. To have a veil of things drawn back by the hand of MAU for a second, for us to see the vital secret - and seeing the secret, become part of the secret. At one and the same time, to be watching, and, as the watcher, conscious of the meaning. A lofty ambition.
I felt that Mau did lead me somewhere remarkable. I was led to a place that was thrilling. You know, those times when you are physically shivering and on the brink, or, are, tearful in a kind of ecstatic zone while seated in the theatre? Well, I felt it three or four times during this work. Wonderfully cathartic, and calming. Humbling.
BIRDS WITH SKYMIRRORS began as an idea when Mr Ponifasio was visiting Kiribati, a group of islands, a nation, surviving under the stress of the rising ocean as a probable climate change consequence - six of these artists were from Kiribati, so, a truly personalised, and, thence, powerful expression of their concerns. Mr Ponifasio observed while working on the island of Tarawa:
"birds carrying strips of video tapes in their mouths, dangling like liquid mirrors in the sky. It was both a vision of beauty and the spirit of death. Are they souls of ancestors in final migration? I thought about the end of time. I thought about The Book of Revelations. I thought about the kumulipo. I began to chant to myself like the old mothers of the village. I thought about The Conference of the Birds and the Birth of Venus. I thought about the polluted ocean and poison river that we leave our children. Dying rivers and dying species is our dying humanity. It is our connectedness rotting away. Humanity is human caring."This work is "a life reflection as a member of the human species sharing earth's process with all sentient beings."
The experience of the work is, I assure you, not an overt/didactic one. It is a participation in a 'happening' . Entering the big space of Bay17 at Carriageworks, while one sits and waits for the rest of audience to assemble, you are confronted by a large black curtain. There is a sound rumble (Soundscape with Lake and River - Douglas Liburn)) that quietly permeates the atmosphere, discreetly, but, permanently. The theatre darkens and very, slowly, very, very, patiently the curtains open on to a space that then gradually, patiently, lightens (Helen Todd). It is a black and white spectrum with shades of grey in between, with a large precariously angled black wooden square shaped 'column' piercing the otherwise open space, dividing it dramatically; mirror-like reflectors hang across the back perspective, suspended, once again angularly, with a scrim/curtain separating the large forestage and small aft regions, below those reflectors, that the performers, the enacters of the ceremony, will move in and on. A silver strip glimmers across the stage front edge. Every thing is slow-timed. There is a sense of deliberate invitation to be patient, to still one self, to shift into this world for the happening, to let the world of the outside to be released for you, for you to meditate with them, to journey with them. The projection of your self-understanding onto what is about to happen. It is an individual journey that you are seduced to partake in. However, I must report the ninety minutes in this auditorium was the most intensely focused and silenced one that I have been with for a very long time. I was an individual, but, certainly, perhaps, part of a 'tribal' collective, congregation, as well. One is ushered to anticipate a very organised journey.The company's confidence of the slow, slow pace of all, and the unforced presentation of the physical and vocal, signals, this is not an entertainment, but something else - special. And despite the theatrical 'weirdness' (that is, I am not used to this") of the slow and consistent tempo, one felt entirely safe, secure, in anticipating that something rare was to be had if one surrendered.
A single performer is faintly/feintly seen in the back to one side, gradually revealed, the head shining bald, upper torso naked, the lower covered in a black sulu-like garment - small delicate and minutely detailed flexes of musculature escalate into a frenzy of startling undulations - 'eruptions', finishing with vibrating fingers, like the tips of wings, fascinate, begin to hypnotise one's focus. Another enters, dressed in black monk like attire - shirt and sulu - moving in a curiously shuffling gait, and engages in gesture of the upper torso, with finger wing flexes, too. A naked woman in extremely high heels, advances down one side of the stage and contorts her figure in a slow, still concentrated manner, finally begins a loud noise/chant that is cause for alarm, because of its plaintive impassioned shrieking and exaggerated statement of facial/eye comment. She moves slowly across the stage and up to the back where she lies down, her back flexing and used as a screen for projections, shimmering like a tiny island in the ocean/cosmos. A 'bird flies and hovers in the 'air' on the other side of the stage. All, takes it time. Nothing is rushed. The other members of the company (11 in total), later, appear in astonishing chorus disciplines. Gesture/dance/ singing. A short video clip of a bird weighted down from, prevented flight by, oil sludge on a beach. The graceful, awesome appearance of an exotically tattooed, otherwise near naked man, wearing a long black phallic cover and a green mask of a bird with an incredible white beak. The sprinkling of the entire surface of the stage in a white dusty powder. Effects and images, all adding up to a slow, transcending happening, where I worked, collaboratively, as an active member of this, ceremony.
Mr Ponifasio does not like the word 'ritual' as a description for his work, preferring 'ceremony' instead, but, for me, that is the easiest linguistic reference I can explain this experience with. The experience had the cumulative effect of ritual ceremony. Mesmerising, 'holy'. The physical expressions have a Polynesian impact, but are just as easily imagined to be seen as part of a heritage from the Chinese Opera/Japanese Noh theatre/New Zealand Hakka traditions. It is a physical and verbal language that is distantly familiar to my cultural dips/experiences, but, have morphed, appear, to be unique to this company. A combination and a sublimation of other world movement rituals/expressions, that combine to create MAU's unique expressions of ritual as ceremony. All of this is accompanied with an immersive soundscape made up of white noise, music notes, even a recording of the "one step for mankind"-lunar landing, and, also, composition orchestrations of a very sophisticated kind (Russel Walder, Richard Nunns, Justin Redding,Marc Chesterman, Sam Hamiliton) ending with the ominous tolling of a bell.
BIRDS WITH SKYMIRRORS was an intense, shared time in the theatre. A never to be forgotten one. Pretty powerful both as art and politics. As ceremony and dance/theatre.
Sunday, May 12, 2013
we do not happen presents A BUTCHER OF DISTINCTION by Rob Hayes at the Old 505 Theatre, Hibernian House, Elizabeth St. Central Railway.
A BUTCHER OF DISTINCTION is a little 'gem' of a darkling play (70 minutes, or so) by a young British writer, I do not know: Rob Hayes, and despite the Internet address, handily given in the very modern format of the program - which assumes that all their audience have Internet connect to be informed of the 'creatives' histories - it was not very helpful, to find out more. I did gather he is a prolific writer and gives (some) plays/sketches away for free and is not bad looking. James Dalton, the director, admires his work very much.
Two young boys, twins, Hartley, the ten minute elder (Heath Ivey-Law), and Hugo (Liam Nunan), have led a severely sheltered life on the country estate owned by their aristocratic father. Their quaint and limited behavioural patterns and language interactions, that we meet them with, are the result of that limited social upbringing. We meet them, not in the dynastic country heartland, but, in a decrepit basement, somewhere in contemporary London, dispersing belongings of their father, some of the inheritance left behind, after the murder and suicide of their parents, enacted by that father. This 'apartment' is decidedly unsavoury, a reason for dis-ease, wonderfully created by Set and Costume Designer, Dylan James Tonkin.
The amusing vocabulary and demarcation of status that that reveals between the boys is the cause of much empathetic laughter, even sympathetic laughter, from us, which is soon dispersed, with the intrusion of Teddy (Paul Hooper), a Dickensian-like miscreant, once an employee of the father, perhaps ,even, a 'business' partner. When a debt of an exorbitant amount, owed by their father, is demanded by Teddy, the boys without access to such funds, find that they can, will have to, repay it with the personal labour of a formidable kind. The boys, in their socially stunted way, gradually discern that their father has given them an 'inheritance' indeed, which they can repay Teddy with. They come to understand that this was their father's real inheritance, gift, intention, and they systematically carry it out in a Grand Guignol ending to the play - the title of the play is a clue!
Think, Mr Hayes' influences maybe: Harold Pinter, at his scary, tension gathering best, Joe Orton, at his aberrant sexual best, Martin MacDonagh, at his ironic, bestial, honest best, and a more frighteningly, contemporaneously sinister one, Philip Ridley (MERCURY FUR), at his relevant socially challenging best, and you will understand the world that you will be in. Whether this play, ultimately, successfully exposes, reveals the reality depths of a social horror that our contemporary world may have plummeted to, or, is simply an amusing hip-fable of the 'blood and gore' kind for the youth of our zombie/vampire obsessed world (curious, is it not?) is debatable. Whatever! ... It is, however, a good night in the theatre.
There are three expertly nuanced performances - the physical actions revealing the inner thoughts of the characters wonderfully, amusingly - by Mr Ivey-Law, Hooper, and especially, Nunan. Mr Nunan's subtle, truthful experiencing of this character's humiliating arc is truly, heartbreakingly disturbing. It is Directed by James Dalton, with a clear understanding of the type of play he is working with and, so, is highly disciplined and disciplining with his actors, with respect for the writer, to achieve that. As I have mentioned, the physical design, is terrific. The Sound and Music Design by James Brown, reminiscent of some Kubrick touches- suitably ominous and ironic - and a basic lighting plot, sufficient, given the space that Liam O'Keefe has to work in.
The journey to the Old 505 Theatre space, once you have found Hibernian House in Elizabeth Street, is, for the uninitiated, a suitable exercise of atmosphere, to prepare you for this play. A BUTCHER OF DISTINTCION is a 'small' work, but it is done here with such affection and respect for the writing, that I can guarantee a worth while, if, light weight, maybe 'comic-hip' experience.
I cannot always guarantee such a recommendation. Do go!
Saturday, May 11, 2013
|Photo by Brett Boardman|
Griffin Theatre Company, HotHouse Theatre and Merrigong Theatre Company present the World Premiere of THE BULL, THE MOON AND THE CORONET OF STARS, by Van Badham at the SBW Stables Theatre, Kings Cross.
THE BULL, THE MOON AND THE CORONET OF STARS is a new play by Van Badham.
Ms Badham is a playwright, novelist,screenwriter, critic, social commentator, broadcaster, dramaturg, director and cabaret performer. And, although I have known of her, taking particular note after having read her play, BLACK HANDS/DEAD SECTION (2005), about the Baader-Meinhof Gang, and seen some provocative Badham political sketches in revue/cabaret (for instance, WOMEN, POWER, CULTURE - a program developed at the New Theatre in November, 2011, a sketch called I THINK THE INTERVIEW WENT WELL MUM), this is the first production of one of her plays that I have seen. It is a most unexpected text from this writer - it is a love story, summed up on the Currency Press publication play/book cover as "whimsical, sensual and charmingly humorous ... a love story of mythic proportions ..." , and that, "It will lure you into an orgy of antiquity, cupcakes and beachside frivolity."
I was so surprised by Ms Badham's play, that I decided to "google" her, just to check my impression of who I thought Ms Badham was. Sure enough, there is a history of her education when she became involved with left-wing activism, leading her to become an "avowed anarchist" - becoming a member of the NAL, the Non Aligned Left. In 1999, she began her journey into the theatre and had her award winning play, THE WILDERNESS OF MIRRORS presented at the Sydney Theatre Company in the Wharf Studio, mentored/encouraged by Nick Enright and David Williamson. Her play, KITCHEN (2001) - a play about marriage as a metaphor for capitalism - became a highly successful introduction to the British theatre establishment, where she stayed for some time. So, to quote from the Wikipedia entry: her plays "are typically concerned with the legacy of personal and political violence, critiques of Western consumer capitalism, dichotomies of middle-and working-class values, roles assigned to women and the relationship of art to history."
THE BULL, THE MOON AND THE CORONET OF STARS had its origins in the debris of a personal heart break and is the result of a challenge from fellow Australian writer, Tom Holloway, (this play is dedicated to Tom Holloway), who encouraged her to re-visit a short play about adultery that she had written in 2011, under commission from the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, using the images from a shard of Greek pottery, of a bull and a man. I guess, the personal is political and this play, which she unabashedly calls a "love letter", is both. I guess.
This play is about Marion (Silvia Colloca), who we meet as she takes up an artist-in-residency at a museum of Greek antiquities. Marion lives with an artist/sculptor but is waning in her attraction to him and finds herself attracted to the Publications Officer, Michael (Matt Zeremes), a married man. An act of sexual transgression eventuates one night in the darkness of the museum amidst the Greek ruins and a skein of red wool - adultery on the part of Michael, which ends in unhappiness for both, causing Marion to move on, with a cold and broken heart to a Welsh resort/hotel, the Portmeirion Village, where she is employed to lead the Drawing Club for Ladies. Here, she mightily resists the siren call of Mark (again, Matt Zeremes), the sommelier in the restaurant. The siren call becomes stronger, too strong, and after many a teasing tribulation, including a bacchanalian disco/drunk fest with the drawing club ladies, Ariadne=Marion succumbs to Dionysus=Mark, and they look at one another and share two kisses as a provocative Blackout indicates the end of the play, leaving us with fanciful "love" projections.
This is a kind of love prose/poem, if, sometimes just a little overstuffed, with language and references entangled in Greek mythologies, with names like Ariadne, Dionysus, Theseus and the Minotaur scattered liberally throughout the text, for those in the know of such things. So, it can have the sensual sublimations of the mysteries of ancient antiquity and the strong whiff of steamy sex with mythical gods and their human 'toys'. Ovids' THE ART OF LOVE and the thrilling shape changing 'love' stories in THE METAMORPHOSES, kept echoing as I watched. I gathered a full-on acknowledgment to the soft porn of E.L. James' BDSM trilogy, beginning with FIFTY SHADES OF GREY, as well - (the only one, I struggled through, I assure you).
On a raised stage platform carpeted in green, surrounded by some varnished, geometrical, wooden shapes, that are organised and metamorphosed into various shape functions during the 80 odd minutes, two actors come on stage and begin before the lighting is taken down. They are in a play using 'novelistic' techniques, that is, the actors describing events, offering observations as characters, as well as employing 'mimicry' as the actual characters - stepping from one form of address to the other, directly, seamlessly, to us, the audience. It is a form of stage writing that I have become extremely tired of. A kind of postmodernist form that is now a little over worn in its affect. Once amusing, principally for its novelty effect, now not so much - I find it's once 'chic' cheekiness a little tiresome and, dare I say ... post!?
Lee Lewis, the director, moves these actors skilfully through their tasks and she has dressed them elegantly and never indulges in any temptation to vulgarise the material with gratuitous sexual, visual taunts. These two actors are handsome and virile enough to fantasise about without revealing anything further than them, fully clothed and kind of chaste - the big sex scene is described to us in a complete blackout - not even the exit lights on - the imagination invited to take its cues from the description, breathy with anguished verbalisations, emanating from the actors. It all looks, with the gleamingly beautiful lighting of Ms Hampson (even the glitter balls sparkle warmly), tasteful. The composition sound design by Mr Francis, gently, commercially witty, "safe as houses" in its comforting communication of mood and textual underlining. Production all in place: lovely set, costumes, lighting, sound, intelligent and restrained directorial choices, beautiful actors.
The experience of the production/play, however, sagged.
The origin of this play is an audio play called THE BULL (2011) and this 'child' of that invention still feels like, sounds like, a play for voices. Voices for radio. (The play, is reminiscent of Dylan Thomas' affect with his UNDER MILK WOOD.) The emotional blurrings of the text by these two actors does not allow clear storytelling, imagistic clarity. The speaking voices must be of a charismatic, attractive quality with vocal technical virtuosity to hold our attention. The voices should reverberate with deep 'amber' tonal warmths - range skills. Our ears must become our eyes.
These two actors do not have those vocal gifts.
Friday, May 10, 2013
MopHead Productions and Catnip Productions present 4000 MILES by Amy Herzog at the under the Wharf atyp space, Hickson Rd.
4000 MILES by Amy Herzog, won the Obie Award for Best New American Play in 2012 . The reputation of the writer and this play had preceded this production under the wharf in the atyp space.
It is a 'little' play dealing with the intergenerational relationship, today, between a 91 year old, ex-communist activist, Vera (Diana Mclean), living in Greenwich Village, New York, and her grandson, Leo (Stephen Multari), a young, slightly committed to alternative-living 'hippy', who has just completed a 4000 mile journey, by pushbike, from Seattle. He arrives at 3am in the morning and the ten scenes of the play span a month or so, as the two of them re-acquaint, and he sorts himself out - a traumatic event that happened during the bike ride appears not properly dealt with, and he has an ex-girlfriend who is now living and studying in New York, the relationship also not completely resolved, it seems. Vera and Leo have the communality of 'blood relations', and in their history of the extended family pool, have sometimes, agreements about them, sometimes not. But, it is family and each deal with some of the 'oddities' of the other with all the forbearance that that brings to personal interactions, which if they were not blood related, they might otherwise, not do. This leads to some very amusing non-sequential conversation and actions and into forceful expressions of emotion that roll off each other, without real incident or profound injury, like water off a duck's back, all woven by the interaction of the physical naturalisms of extreme age on one hand, and, robust and maturing youth on the other.
I had read the play and pondered its reputation. It is a 'cute' play on the page. I thought, "mmm". I thought, to lift this work into a prize winning one, the acting needs to be very detailed, carefully nuanced and each scene played within an accurate naturalistic time control. It requires a kind of uneventful but deeply observed and, finally, experienced, breadth and breath of knowledge of character and, especially, family, psychological intimacies. It needs to be 'conducted' by the director with all the trust to the real time, naturalistic clues, that Ms Herzog had given out. It requires almost non-acting and the illusion of the non-dramatic unfolding of living. Chekhovian, perhaps. It is a very deceptive but wonderful piece of writing. Difficult to do.
Some of this is achieved in this production by Anthony Skuse.
The design (Gez Xavier Mansfield) though attractive (lighting, by Sara Swersky) - if without enough books and dust - is on a raised platform, and so the 'living-room' where most of the action takes place is visually, and practically, like a floating island - it does not have connection to the rest of a real apartment; there are no doors or stairs, no light switches etc, for instance. This means scripted exits to the kitchen or other rooms are curtailed - the time lapses of action/activity that would have taken place are consequentially hurried, the musical pacing of Ms Herzog's creation lost. In this production's instance the other actors, sitting around the set, come to the 'shore' of the living room with the cups of coffee and possessions etc. to give or take, for the flow of the naturalistic action of the activities of the play, with usually an unscripted, added verbal exchange from Vera, that takes the work out of the play's indicated style to that of a Meyerholdian conceit - this is a play and I am an actor, so are they, and you are all in a theatre - instead of the Herzog/Stanislavskian desire for it all to be believed as a living reality.
Ms Mclean gives, mostly, a secure and believable performance but details of Vera's aging frailty: not picking up on the door key note of scene three and the 'ginger' and shaking hand with the cup of tea in scene four, and still successfully threading earrings into the hole of her ear , in a later scene with ease, seem to be careless choices of missed opportunities of character exposition and exploration through use of sustained characteristics indicated by the writer. The writer's clues, if followed through with consistency, may have had more subtle impact to the characterisation. (It is simply a 'close' reading of the text for inspiration and guidance.). It undermined partly, my belief in Vera as a character, and took me back to a theatre place rather than watching a lived life. Similarly, the casual everyday costume, the white deep scoop necked blouse, needing to be constantly dealt with around the chest, alluded to a sexual predilection, a blowsiness, rather than the 91 year old political savant, intellectual, underlined in the text by Ms Herzog - with the aid of mind altering drugs, Vera, reaches back to sexual longings which weren't too apparent in any of her relationships in life, she tells us, and, age of course shifts the focus of life priorities, and sex, in this text, for Vera, at 91, is not too high on her priorities.
However, Vera, is the secondary character in this story, dramaturgically the sounding board for the development of the arc of the journey of Leo. This is his play. His subterranean journey of emotional immaturity and the consequences of that, in and to his life, is the 'stuff' of the play. It is not really indicated by Mr Multari. There is little readable clue from the actor that something other than the literal action of the text is going on. There is a sense that Mr Multari believes that theatrical energies are equal to informative acting, storytelling. Occasional sentimentality, commenting on his material, playing personality, is the usual choice, rather than plumbed emotional truths and courageous personalised revelations. The grief of the bicycle trauma was not seen, and so this Leo is a very unpleasant young man, though physically robust, he is emotionally ignorant (or, was this performance just first night nerves?) The scenes with Vera which makes up the bulk of the play, on the night I attended, were held together, mainly, by the wisdom of Ms Mclean's mature offers and responses and they worked, generally, in sync with Ms Herzog's intentions. Mr Multari, however, does not know how to use the opportunities of the scenes with the two younger female characters, Bec, his ex-girlfriend (Eloise Snape) and the bar pick-up, Amanda (Aileen Huynh), which he must drive, and set for the audience, the inner agenda, to reveal, further, the complication of this young man's emotional inadequacies, his utter, utter selfishness. The level of storytelling by Mr Multari in those scenes is relatively superficial, and the scenes seem, consequently, to be almost superfluous to the construct of the play, no matter the good performances from Ms Snape and Hyunh in creating them. The dawning of emotional awakening, growth in the last scene, when Leo, independently, elects to commit a positive, unselfish action, the first in the play from him – the writing of the obituary speech, for the unknown neighbour - does not have an actor's awareness of the significance for the character.
This production is almost two hours in length and has no interval – concentrations lagged and I believe this production could have done with one.
John Shand in the Sydney Morning Herald (Wednesday, 8th May) was mightily moved by the same performance I saw and did not have the reservations I have about this production.
So, make up your own mind when you go. It was, for me, merely, a charming, middle-of-the-road (MOR) night out.
Thursday, May 9, 2013
|Photo by Lisa Tomasetti|
Sydney Theatre Company presents FURY. A New Play by Joanna Murray-Smith in Wharf 1, Hickson Rd.
FURY is a new play from Joanna Murray-Smith commissioned by the Sydney Theatre Company (STC).
The parents of 16 year old Joe (Harry Greenwood), Alice, a neuroscientist (Sarah Peirse), Patrick,(Robert Menzies), a successful novelist, believe that they have led a good life, and striven to make 'goodness' part of their gift, in their actions, to their community. In fact, Alice is soon to be given an Award based on her public social contribution. They have a life, that, many of a certain class, might dream of. Unfortunately, Joe, with a schoolfriend, Trevor, has made a very 'politically incorrect' statement in a very public manner. It requires reprimand and apology. A teacher (Tahki Saul) is brought in from the very prestigious and private school to help the families to navigate their way out of a possible public disgrace - debacle. A young reporter from the University, Rebecca (Geraldine Hakewill) while preparing a story on Alice, the neuroscientist and her upcoming award, scents a bigger story. Consequently, secrets and lies are revealed. Secrets and lies of tragic dimensions.
Joanna Murray-Smith tells us, although the story is not part of her life, she is
the child of two passionate, smart idealistic people with a profound sense of social responsibility. Out of this came the starting point for this play - the question: "How do the children of radicals define themselves against the backdrop of their parents' ideological convictions?" But plays don't write to order and I found myself also examining aspects of marriage, family and morality. How do we manage our instinctive desire to shape our children and our children's refusal to oblige? How do marriages negotiate secrets? And what happens if we build our adult lives and relationships on the foundations of youthful flaws? Does the past always insinuate itself into the present, wreaking a kind of insidious destruction? And finally, can we redeem ourselves from who we once were?The director, Andrew Upton, in the program, notes that "Joanna is a great observer of people. Subsequently her plays have a satiric edge, and humour is a vital ingredient to leavening the gravity of her themes." HONOUR (1995) and RAPTURE (2002) - a play of her's that I saw at the Malthouse in Melbourne - are examples of that, and FURY has the same, close observant eye that skewers the middle classes with the brilliant, laser accuracy of a mordant wit that knows her world of concern well, and she distracts us too comfortably, as she gradually focuses into the core of some darker elements of a contemporary life, a personal tragedy. The sardonic observations are prepared and delivered by Ms Murray-Smith with great control and skill, her writerly technique for comedy is higly tuned, one has great reason to be amused - her understanding of the Australian syntactical rhythms and word-vowel musicalities with her keen ear for the idiosyncratic vernacular vocabulary of her people is spot-on and comfortingly recognisable - diverting. And with this shielding stealth she leads one gradually to a dramatic place where one is gripped, seized with a shock and then, in FURY's case, to a dawning sense of betrayal and a kind of possible grief that stills the theatre in its final 40 minutes.
Alice tells us that history is the recording of happenings, which are the result of passionate actions. (from the Macquarie dictionary -" Passionate: affected or dominated by passion or vehement emotion.") These passionate actions, emanating from a "fury", may only take a few seconds to commit, but, the consequences can be far reaching, endless, and absolutely irreversible ("Fury: a frenzied or unrestrained violent passion, anger"). So, it was a terrible coincidence, for me, to see this play soon after the Boston Marathon acts of terrorism, with the graphic television coverage still in my mind's eye, and the release of the new Robert Redford film THE COMPANY YOU KEEP (2013), concerning a group of radical anti-war protesters of 1969 who began a campaign of bombings on American soil. They were called The Weather Underground and innocent lives were lost. Some were sent to prison. A few vanished. Ms Murray-Smith's play echoed these recent, co-incidental events, violently, within me, at Wharf 1. The Redford film tells of the "fury" of the FBI and their relentless search to bring the vanished terrorists to justice. In this play, The Eumenides - the Kindly Ones - the Furies, have waited and, at last, in their own good time revealed the past of Alice, too grave to be permanently hidden, and in a contemporary kind of way, invoke the vengeance of the gods to bring her to a torture of exposure in the world at large, and, especially, to her unsuspecting family, at a moment of public adulation, to hubristically sting her with conscience, a consciousness that she had somehow buried, in what one must imagine to have being a difficult state of denial. None of Alice's 'good acts' will be able to balance out a furious, but calculated, act of her own passionate youth. Fury is redressed with fury.
2013 is a big year for Ms Murray-Smith. Firstly, she had the first US premiere of THE GIFT at the Geffen Playhouse in L.A. beginning the 29th January. Next, FURY at the STC, beginning on the 19th April. She then premiered another new play, TRUE MINDS, beginning 25th April at the Melbourne Theatre Company (MTC), and then, an adaptation of HEDDA GABLER for the State Theatre Company of South Australia (STCSA), beginning the 26th April. Her play DAY ONE, A HOTEL, EVENING also appears at the Black Swan (in Perth) beginning 15th June. The April dates are amazingly stacked up. Three openings in an eight day period! The pressure to finesse the works for these commissioning companies must have been full on. Ms Murray-Smith's availability, for all, must have been spread very thin. Ms Murray-Smith, as a writer, can claim exhaustedly: when it rains it pours.
So, FURY, on stage at The Wharf 1, seems to me a play still in-process, in progress, and certainly in need of further 'workshop' development. As it stands there are still obvious unresolved character histories, developments; comic genre writing that does not always feel as if it comes truthfully from the character delivering it, amusing though it may be - style over-riding character truths; characters that sometimes still feel as if they are still dramaturgical tools: the teacher, the reporter, the other lower middle class family, Bob (Yure Covitch) and Annie (Claire Jones), not comfortably appearing within the 'landscape' of the world of the play, being, still, satirical caricatures/mouthpieces for the author's comedy; and characters a shade too familiar from other works of Ms Murray-Smith's repertoire, some laden with breathtaking co-incidence of presence in the action: the reporter.
In my experience with new work, in the United States, this production is at a place one would see at the beginning of the development of a major play, the first of many full productions, to workshop and refine the play, across the country, before it opened in a major city for final exposure. Australia is so small an Arts community that that is not possible, and so it is a shame that the development here, seems to have been squashed, not able to have the dramaturgical rough edges planed back, the incongruities made more subtle, with the comfort of more time. Is Ms Murray-Smith's amazing 2013 schedule too limiting to be able to give it the full authorial attention it needed, perhaps? How can this planning happen, between companies? Is there no possible way to reasonably plan, co-operatively, to achieve the best product possible? FURY, is a play that should have more metamorphosing time allowed to mature to the great potential that is evident in this production. FURY has the potential to be a very good play. The pressure of TIME is always the big issue in developing new work. Flexibility and good sense from the commissioning companies and the writer - is it not possible?
Whether the pressure of sorting the playwriting pre-occupied, dominated, the production rehearsal or not, I can't be sure, but the acting itself, needs more maturing as well. Attention from the director. Sometimes the information in the text is insufficient to reveal the character, or, is still, primitively, merely a tool for the exposition of the writing, and so the back story of the characters needs to be highly developed by the actor - imagination. Mr Saul, has an almost impossible job to put flesh on to the textual skeleton/function of his task, the teacher (not even named!) - fortunately, Mr Saul has personality and a sense of gravitas and makes an impression. Ms Hakewill, finds it a problem to bring to life the spare dialogue, interrogative questions, of early scenes as the reporter, Rebecca, - they sound in her acting choices like a script recitation rather than word-by-word revelations of a motivated character - and Rebecca certainly has enough plot development, motivation, to be more interesting, "loaded", in those early scenes than what Ms Hakewill delivers. However, all the actors have some or a good occasion of truth and secure revelation, with scenes scattered throughout the work they are given, but, not many are consistent in that occasional confidence. Mr Covich is terrific in his quietly assertive reasoning in the parent meeting scene (did not Ms Reza's GOD OF CARNAGE come ringing back in remembrances from times past?). Ms Jones' Annie was effective in her last scene with Alice - the sense of class wisdom and dignity, an understated achievement.
The actors, mostly, seemed to be simply giving a personalised response to the material, which is the greater part of acting - sure - but, as yet, have not built in the complete knowledge of the life forces of the actual characters in the given circumstances that they reveal - the differences from themselves (the actor), to the experiences that create and motivate their characters. I was not completely convinced, for instance, of the professional lives of Alice and Patrick and the insights that those professions may have given them in the circumstances of the writer's narrative. When the behaviour of Joe is revealed these two parents seem to have no resources from within their professional lives - neuroscience and literature - to analyse and pinpoint the real possible cause - it seemed odd to me, and, that this did not reveal itself, later, as a character trait, that is , deliberate obfuscation by them to the truth to protect themselves, it undermined my complete absorption to my belief in them. If it is not in the text, as explanation, then it can be in the invented inner monologue in the moment of acting.
Ms Peirse - and it is, I admit, a matter of taste, where agreement is not necessary but disagreement may be fruitful, in Alice's focused moments in the later scenes of exposure and its consequences, tends, to reach for the theatrical melodrama of them, rather than, a revelation of terrible realities - the similar, but different, choices played by Susan Sarandon and Julie Christie in their moments of conscience in THE COMPANY YOU KEEP, are object lessons of comparison, both in the truth of the exposure and the playing of it. Ms Peirse's work seemed to be of another time of theatrical acting, it lacked any truthful internal monologue to be intuited/endowed by the audience and instead was all exhibited, external generalised characteristics, to be objectively watched by the audience - and indeed Alice's behaviour seemed to hamper the possibilities of the responses for Patrick (Mr Menzies), except as a masked, squatting in front of the stool, burying up-stage, the storytelling revelation, of the impact on him of the exposed secret, for the audience.
The outstanding performance came from Mr Greenwood as Joe, for not only was there a great sense of personalisation, identification, ownership of his character, it seemed, he also brought an embodied sense of the psychological history of his up-bringing and cultural environment. It was a fully realised character with a set of sulking but open vulnerabilities, made up, synthesised from the actor's life and his imaginative building from the circumstances that Ms Murray-Smith had given him. One of Mr Greenwood's opening scenes has him answering a list of questions to which he simply replies, "No." - a veritable cascade of no's. And each was so imaginatively activated - motivated - and, plotted, to reveal an emotional journey, fed from Joe's life, that I laughed with each utterance - each "No" a complete and different statement. His presence, even in silent scenes, was storytelling with a radiating pursuit of contributive relevant revelations. His ability to register his narrative, his active listening, in the scenes, totally engrossing.
The design solution by David Fleischer, one of the co-resident designers for STC, under the guidance of Mr Upton, is an impressive architectural statement, but has little real practicality in supporting the actualities of the circumstance spaces or emotional narrative of the play. A grey-blue set of monoliths of what could be concrete walls - looking more like an interior museum/art space than any of the places in the play, which is mostly domestic - with a real terrazzo floor and next to no furniture, is a cold and counter intuitive sensory offer for this play, FURY. It was indicative to me of the conceptual impulses of the designer, when in the program, in the Designer's note, Mr Fleischer replies to the question – What aspect of the production are you most excited about? – "The clothes. The floor." and then goes on to talk of the "fabulous floor" - no reference to the subject matter of the play, not the contemporary themes or characters, but the clothes and the floor. It will be, is indeed, part of theatre fable, already, that floor! Just what did it cost? Particularly, when one observed that the STC had only one assistant- stage-manager to move the design pieces that needed to be wheeled on to the stage, into this art gallery space, and off again when the scene location is been set or struck, requiring the actors themselves to assist to set the props and furniture. Did the floor cost push the production budget and maybe precluded the cost of hiring more stage management?! The lighting by Nick Schliepper and Chris Twyman kept the feel of the 'epic' architectural statement rather than focusing or assisting any warmth to the scale of a human tragedy. Similarly, the composition and sound design, by Max Lydandvert, in the many scene changes, though beautiful (as the composition was for MRS WARREN'S PROFESSION) had a spiritual, ethereal other worldliness, very much rarefied from the visceral emotions of the character action of the play.
Was Mr Upton, hi-jacked by the design elements? For, he did not seem to know, considering the limited furniture, and the positioning of it, how to organise his actors, for what were really very naturalistic situations/conversations, how to stage the actors for audience communication. How to bring actors into entrance and exits - the set being so impractical for the action of the text. As for the scenes themselves, usually, one actor sat on a chair and the other, without any real character motivation other than the naked stage necessity of actor communication- to be seen and heard by the audience -would circle it. It took one back to the hapless choices he made in his production of O'Neill's LONG DAY'S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT, a few years ago. Perhaps, there too, he was out manouvered by his designer. The look, the metaphor triumphing over the necessity of the simple stage craft of moving the actors, believably on and off the stage to tell the story.
FURY, is a play still in process/development, but still, worth the time (and money, $95 - philistine, I know) spent with it. I hope it evolves further.
Sunday, May 5, 2013
New Theatre presents THE HAM FUNERAL by Patrick White at the New Theatre, Newtown.
THE HAM FUNERAL by Patrick White was written in 1947. The first of the published plays (1965). The play has had a very dramatic life of its own, in terms of its performance obstacles in the 1960's, when it was, infamously, refused performance in 1962 by the governors of the Adelaide Festival. Last year, in 2012, Adam Cook, featured it, 60 years later, as part of his last season as Artistic Director of the State Theatre Company of South Australian Theatre (STCSA) and one of the jewels of that Adelaide Festival.
I have never seen the play before, or even, read it. Neil Armfield, a champion of Mr White's dramatic work, had in 1989, directed for the Sydney Theatre Company, a highly acclaimed production with Kerry Walker as Mrs Lusty, Max Cullen as Mr Lusty and Tyler Coppin as the the Young Man - the poet. I never saw it.
The play was inspired by a William Dobell painting 'The Dead Landlord', painted in Pimlico before World War II apparently in one of those great, damp, crumbling houses down towards the river Thames. Dobell told the story to White of how his landlord had died, how the landlady had taken down her hair, announcing there would be a 'ham funeral' and sent him to fetch the relatives. White wrote THE HAM FUNERAL as he prepared to leave London and return to Sydney. It reflected the continuation of his own struggle with freeing himself from the influences of his mother, Ruth.
David Marr in his masterful biography of Patrick White wrote:
"He adored her but knew he had to break free and stay clear of her, as he broke free from the Whites, from the land, from the friends, from lovers, from possessions, from obligations, from the ties which no longer served his purposes as an artist."In the play, the Young Man wrestles the grieving Alma Lusty on the bed, and breaks free of her embrace remembering her startling statement, No man "ever really leaves the breast. That's our weapon. The softest weapon in the world."
He is assured by his anima, the Girl, to go, to leave,
"... You are beginning ... On many future occasions you'll wrestle with the figures in the basement ... passion and compassion locked together ..."The Young Man of THE HAM FUNERAL is a propitious portrait of White's evolving persona with a portentous glimpse of what he needed to do to fulfil his ambitions.
The play is written in a very intriguing form:
"It was a kind of tableau vivant ... with dialogue, poetry and music hall routines ... (aiming) for something universal and surreal, a mixture of the hilarious and brutal."and it was this that kept me, mostly, engaged with this performance at the New Theatre. I pondered the theatrical inspiration, heritage of the writing experiment that Patrick White was exploring in 1947. "Just what were the theatrical inspirations?", I wondered. When asked, White, simply replied,"I had read Wedekind." - EARTH SPIRIT; PANDORA'S BOX (the Lulu plays); and SPRING AWAKENING, perhaps?
The set design of this production (not attributed) along with the costumes by Anna Gardiner and the lighting by Sian James-Holland have a very attractive aesthetic. The stage pictures that the director, Philip Rouse, has organised are arresting, painterly in their own way. Physically, there is an attempt of stylisation, that is not always harnessed, seamlessly, to the exposition of the storytelling. The visual offers are more often than not causes for puzzlement and extraneous invitations to wonder of their intention, being statements without easy contextual meaning or clarity to the instant of the storytelling - the invented, choral interlude of the Four Relatives, extremely confounding, for instance.
Lucy Miller as the Landlady, Mrs Lusty, gives a very valiant and admirable performance working with committed focus, but, she is the only actor really attempting to use the language with any real consciousness of vocal technique, the only actor truly attempting to communicate her character through the language, the writing of Patrick White. The other actors have no sense of the word by word organisation of Mr White's poetry and err on emotional colouring over clarity of communicating the text of the play. There is much reciting, shouting and a kind of profound deafness to the musicality of the orchestrations of the prose/poetry e.g. no rhythmical structures or attention to pitch modulation - just loud noise. Most of the actors were not aware of even delivering fully focused line readings, often dwindling mid -sentence to a kind of emotional compression of the sounds of the words - Katrina Sindicich and Brielle Flynn blunting the dramatic dimensions of the famously surreal ladies and their rummage in the garbage-bins to find and render up 'a tender, humorous foetus', in the final scene of the first act.
Rob Baird, as Young Man, is never connected to his instrument for us to be able to hear clearly, to understand narrative or believe in a character. It is entirely a self-conscious, self absorbed performance. It does not appear to have any actor's sense of character arc, or of journey posts, to communicate to the audience. He does not attempt to engage with the other actors to plot his story, (he may have given up on them), for he generalises their presence and ignores their place in telling his story. And if the Young Man is not a central invitation to engage us, then, the play is lost. This is surely part of the responsibility of the director, to conduct the music of the play. To place the language at the centre of the production. To help guide and focus his actors. This does not happen.
Many in the audience were lost and left in the interval. I stayed because of my fascination with the style of the writing and the boldness of its form as a play, written, wondrously, marvellously, in 1947. Even today it has a daring that demands attention, and that it is situated in the language, and the structure of that language as well as the surreal imagery, seems to have flummoxed Mr Rouse, who has pictures in the forefront of his creativity, rather than the balance of those images with, what I consider the primary task, the pictures of the oral/aural kind - the spoken text. Mr Rouse does not help us to see with our ears. The eyes have it, in this production. It is only half the achievement needed for this intriguing work by Patrick White, to soar.
1. Patrick White: Collected Plays Volume 1. Currency Press -1988.
First published in 1965 as Four Plays by Patrick White.
2.PATRICK WHITE. A Life by David Marr. A Vintage Book published by Random House, Australia -1991.
Dreamhouse Artists in association with NIDA Independent present SET - A WHO-DUNNIT SOAP-OPERA, directed by Sam Atwell in the Parade Studio, at the National Institute of Dramatic Arts (NIDA).
Channel 7 comes LIVE to the National Institute of Dramatic ART.
SET - a who-dunnit soap-opera, written by a team of writers from the Channel Seven, HOME AND AWAY, television series: Sam Atwell, Romina Accurso, Gary Sewell, Jenny Lewis and Louise Bowes, directed by Sam Atwell, as part of the NIDA curated season of the NIDA Independent Program, crashes onto a stage at the National Institute of Dramatic Art, for a three week season.
Sam Atwell in his Creator's Notes tells us:
When Nick Bolton asked me what kind of show I wanted to pitch to NIDA Independent Producer program, I responded with, "Let's do something ridiculously off the wall and fun." I have a huge love of television, especially crime shows and murder mysteries, and thought that would be a great place to start. So drawing on years of watching Poirot and Columbo, and working on television sets, I sat down and came up with a host of characters and a basic plot. ...
This he did. Though the stretch to find these characters and this plot was not much, given what we see and hear. While watching SET, the game, HOST A MURDER, came to mind, immediately, as the main source of plot. The stock characters had imaginative names like: 'Stumbles', Chip, Sizemore, Stella, Star. And, strangely I felt that, rather than loving television, the text, as performed, was an overlong jokey denigration of the medium and all the artists and craftsmen involved, and, that the disrespect for what actors do was so persistently satirised that it was a more than loud contemptuous example of disdain for their contribution to T.V. - it seems to say that they are talentless, vain, and stupid, perhaps, even addicts. "It's meant to be funny" , I hear the writers say. Well, you know what? - speaking as a watcher of television and loving actors and their craft, it was not. After a certain point, at the third or fourth 'joke' - which maybe a minute into this near one hundred minute play, it was no longer funny. NOT, funny. (If ever it was.)
Channel 7 and NIDA ought to look at what they have, so enthusiastically, supported. Channel 7 - a full on joke abou the banality of television. NIDA - a humiliation of actors as talentless and vain individuals.
Channel 7 produces television of quality, does it not? Or, it used to. The National Institute of Dramatic Art trains actors, does it not? Or, it used to.
"SET the play would not be possible without the help of these people: 25 years of HOME & AWAY. Executive Producer Andrew Everingham for always being there. NIDA: Skye Kunstelj and Johanna Mulholland etc, etc ... .... ."
How informed were Channel 7, really? What were the artistic directors/curators at NIDA thinking? Did Channel 7 or NIDA read a draft? Or, was it just an enthusiastic pitch from enthusiastic pitchers?
NIDA says in the program to this production:
In 2012, NIDA looked to broaden its vision and develop a program to provide greater opportunities for artists/companies (both emerging and established) to extend their theatre practice and develop new works and theatre forms. The NIDA Independent Program is open to the exploration of new work and creative forms, as well as the re-invention of classic and contemporary works.
Now this is good, usual, corporate speak, and certainly looks the right thing to be saying. Boards and Funding Bodies would be pleased with such statements, but, don't you think the DOING, the rehearsal progress, the resultant production, should be more rigorously examined? That the artistic directors know what they are supporting as "extensions" and "developments" of theatre practice? I'd say, "yes", to both questions, if this work and the recent, I KNOW THERE'S A LOT OF NOISE OUTSIDE BUT YOU HAVE TO CLOSE YOUR EYES are the standard of work that one is presenting. If you are going to "talk the talk", and have board and funding bodies support, don't you think that you should "walk the walk" and follow up with SEEING and vetting more assiduously the quality of the work you are going to present. For, I do know there are artists of proven reputation and famous as risk takers and 'innovators', who are battering down doors to get produced, selected, in venues, all over Sydney, and haven't got a "gong'. I hope explanations will be sought, to ensure the quality of the risks to come in the future.
More, from Mr Atwell:
When NIDA gave us the nod, we were so thrilled. I thought more about the structure and thought, "Why not replicate the way television shows are written?" There are five of us in the HOME AND AWAY writing team, and Romina, Gary, Jenny and Louise jumped at the idea of collectively writing the show. We had a fantastic time doing this and with the help of a number of reads and re-writes, conceived the script you see before you tonight
Our next job was to enlist the talents of an incredible and huge cast. I pinch myself every time I work with these guys. The talent in the rehearsal room has been so inspiring. ...
The whole process has been an absolute joy, the cast and crew have 'done amazing feats'! I hope you have as much fun watching the show as we did creating it.
Alfred Hitchcock said: 'T.V. has brought murder back into the home where it belongs.' Well now we're bringing them both back into the theatre.
And what Mr Hitchcock and Mr Atwell has said is true, for, the quality of this writing is television at its murderous worst, and, undoubtedly, I felt the 'murder' of the opportunity that this company had in this theatre was palpably, viscerally bloodied, all over the place.
"The evidence is there for all to see, your honour."
This was writing for an end-of-year-high-school party - juvenile, beyond all one's gathering misgivings and diminishing, charitable hopes. Or, for a wrap party at an exhausted television studio. The directing, by Mr Atwell, of the actors was limited to staging them (perhaps a camera rehearsal?) - none of them had any idea of what to do with this material (if they could do anything at all with this writing) or, even what they should be doing, it seemed. And, as there was no opportunity to "post-edit" this material into an acceptable quality - what we saw is what we got. It was LIVE (well a kind of alive) theatre, not television.
Pastiche, satire is not for the novice. It requires real skill and a sharp edged, delicate vision. This was, mostly, done with a sledge-hammer brutality. It was a brutal experience to sit through if one had any aesthetic values, or, even, especially, something else to do. I wished that I had been 'Finlay Jones', the murder victim, as he died before interval, and I thought at least he won't have to come back -YES, there is an interval, this 'sketch' material runs almost two hours! - and guess what? 'Fin' does come back, in FLASH BACK, after FLASH BACK, after FLASH BACK ......!!!!! Bad luck.
I went back as well. I am having flash backs about it in nightmare after nightmare since, and, I ask, as are some of my fellow audience who fled, do: "Why? Why? Why? Why did you stay?" I guess," Courtesy, courtesy, 'stupid' professional courtesy."
In my experience of this kind of material, including the awful sketch shows that have blighted, mostly, our television (any of these writers claim credit?), and the divine Carol Burnett Show (oh, memories), it is a big risk to attempt. Two stellar companies: SOAPDISH (1991), a film directed by Michael Hoffman starring Sally Fields, Kevin Kline, Robert Downey Jnr.,Whoopie Goldberg, Carrie Fisher etc and MURDER BY DEATH (1976), written by Neil Simon, starring Eileen Brennan, Peter Falk (as Colombo, Mr Atwell), Alec Guiness, Peter Sellars, and Maggie Smith etc also fail to make this genre work - and they were, are, 'stars'.
The "absolute joy" of the rehearsal process, cited by Mr Atwell, unfortunately, does not translate into the theatre.
I shall say no more, dear Diary.
Go, and see for yourself.
To be scrupulously honest, there is some good writing. It is by Mr Shakespeare and quoted by somebody in the SET:
Life's but a walking shadow; a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Let us hope SET - a who-dunnit soap-opera is "heard no more". But then Television is always desperate for material.
Channel 7 is a proud Corporate Sponsor of NIDA.
Sunday, April 28, 2013
National Theatre, South Bank, London in a co-production with Headlong presents the World Premiere of THE EFFECT by Lucy Prebble in the Cottesloe Theatre.
I saw this production in London, in early January, 2013.
THE EFFECT by Lucy Prebble is a co-production between the National Theatre (NT) and Headlong. This play is the follow-on of the partnership between Ms Prebble and the director Rupert Goold of the Headlong company, that created and presented ENRON, firstly at the Chichester Festival and then on transfer to the Royal Court Jerwood Downstairs Theatre and, subsequently,to the Noel Coward Theatre, in the West End, in 2009. I saw ENRON, in the ill-fated production on Broadway, in 2010.
Depression is the flaw in love. To be creatures who love, we must be creatures who can despair at what we lose, and depression is the mechanism of that despair
-Andrew Solomon, from The Noonday Demon, 2001.
THE EFFECT is a play for four actors and is set in a research facility for a large pharmaceutical company studying the efficacy of a new drug regime in pursuit of relief for depression. Two volunteers, who are being paid to do so, two Triallists, not known to be sufferers of depression, Connie (Billie Piper) and Tristan (Jonjo O'Neil) meet over the first exchange of their urine to the Doctors. They begin the trial and are measured closely, with brain scans etc for the benefits of the drug-given regime, as it escalates and processes over the time of the research. The rules for the trial are strict but these two, whether it be because of the drugs or not, find themselves in a burgeoning affair, catapulted into sexual intercourse after a tap-dancing wooer seduces all, to the tune "I've Got You Under My Skin". Both of these volunteers have emotional baggage and history - she, a part-time psychology student with a teetering outside relationship; he, a free wheeling wastrel not anchored by any firm view for his life's future. What complicates the matter is that Connie suspects that one of them may be on a placebo, and as they try to ascertain as to whether their 'love' for each other is the result of the drugs or otherwise, strain and paranoia sets in: to darkening abysses of hell!
In classical times, when such things were properly understood, Eros was considered a god whose divinity transcended our human limits, and who therefore could be neither comprehended nor represented in any way. I might, as many before me have attempted to do, venture an approach to this daimon, whose range of activity extends from the endless spaces of the heavens to the dark abysses of hell; but I falter before the task of finding the language which might adequately express the incalculable paradoxes of love.Supervising the trial is a psychiatrist, Doctor James (Anastasia Hille), employed and directed by another doctor, Toby (Tom Goodman-Hill), representative of the pharmaceutical company undertaking the trial. The complication here is that, once, upon a time, not to distant, these two met at a convention and had a love affair, and we learn that Dr James, is herself susceptible to episodes of depression. Her last bout may have being triggered with the breakdown of their relationship.
- Carl Jung.
Love is merely a madness; and, I tell you, deserves as well as a dark horse and a whip as madmen do; and the reason why they are not so punish'd and cured is that the lunacy is so ordinary that the whippers are in love too.
Shakespeare, AS YOU LIKE IT.The play tackles some big subjects: love; the role of placebos in medicine; the ethics around research been done by commercially biased interests and their ability to read the results accurately, objectively; when reading the scientific-babble, neuroscience literature about the brain, contemporaneously - just how much do the scientists really know of it? how much should we believe "the junk enlightenment of the popular brain industry"? ; whether depression is reaching epidemic status and is simply a chemical imbalance in the brain which the pharmaceutical companies can relieve; or, more simply that depression is a normal, natural state that the super sensitive have always experienced - a natural part of the human condition rather than illness, and that neuroscience does not have the right to be the ultimate arbiter of any human activity; if pain can be relieved, should medication be a safety valve to be able to endure, accepting that it cannot cure, rather just dulling, temporarily the symptoms?; are the after effects worth the risks?
So, here we have two love stories wrapped within a big contemporary debate on issues of great import. Here is an example of the kind of writing that I find so rarely in Australian playscripts. Particularly, of late. Big ideas entwined in an ordinary rom-com mode. Serious, romantic, comic and tragic. Challenging. Intelligent. Researched!
Rupert Goold (we have seen some of his work: SIX CHARACTERS IN SEARCH OF AN AUTHOR) has directed this work in the round in the Cottesloe Theatre, with an immersive set, by Miriam Buether (the second set of her's I have seen in this visit: IN THE REPUBLIC OF HAPPINESS, at the Royal Court, being the other), the audience sitting as if in the waiting room of the clinic, surrounding the actors and their spaces, with some projection design to enhance the science and its explications - not too much - on the surrounding walls and floor, with lighting by Jon Clark and music by Sarah Angliss and sound design by Christoher Shutt.
The performances are gripping and in this small space totally enveloping, Ms Piper and Mr O'Neill travelling through the travails of 'love' and its consequences, and Mr Goodman-Hill anchoring the debate for commercial science balancing the love debris with Anastasia Hille's remarkably detailed and ultimately, dreadfully moving Dr James, from objective clinician to fragile depressant to surrendering survivor. Ms Hille's work is amazing, surrounded by an ensemble of near flawless immersion and support.
The little we know about love does not transcend simple observation, and the little we write about it has been written better by poets and novelists. But of greater concern is the fact that psychologists tend to give progressively less attention to a motive which pervades our entire lives. Psychologists, at least psychologists who write textbooks, not only show no interest in the origin and development of love or affection, but they seem to be unaware of its very existence."
- Harry Harlow, American psychologist, 1958.
One can only hope that Sydney gets to see this play, sooner, rather than, later. Lucy Prebbles a writer of some skill and importance. THE SUGAR SYNDROME, ENRON , THE EFFECT. What's next?
P.S. ENRON is to be seen at the New Theatre in the coming months. It is a mammoth undertaking and I wish that company the best, but, like the New Theatre's artistic management, I agree, it is too important a play not to be seen in Sydney. Too big, I guess for the Sydney Theatre Company or Belvoir and their budgets?
Thursday, April 25, 2013
Workhorse Theatre Company presents the Sydney Premiere of THE MOTHERF**KER WITH THE HAT by Stephen Adly Guirgis at the Tap Gallery, Darlinghurst.
THE MOTHERF**CKER WITH THE HAT by Stephen Adly Guirgis directed by Adam Cook at the fringe venue, the Tap Gallery, is a terrific night in the theatre. Following on from the recent ONE SCIENTIFIC MYSTERY OR WHY DID THE ABORIGINES EAT CAPTAIN COOK? the Tap Gallery - a really quirky space - is suddenly the place to see some really good theatre. I highly recommend it to you.
What is amazing is that this young Independent theatre company: Workhorse Theatre Company, have secured the rights to this recent Broadway hit play (2011), written by one of the most exciting writers around, Stephen Adly Guirgis.
What is this? The Sydney Theatre Company (STC) and Belvoir not have it on their radar?
This is not, however, the first play we have seen from Mr Guirgis in Sydney: Belvoir did, in their Downstairs venue, a few years ago, curate a production of JESUS HOPPED THE 'A' TRAIN (2000), directed by Wayne Blair; and Tony Knight when he was running the Actors Course of Study at NIDA, found (he reads plays, as well!) and caused a student production of THE LAST DAYS OF JUDAS ISCARIOT (2006), directed by American, Mel Shapiro, to be. Both these plays, if you saw them, have prepared you well for the emotional linguistic roller coaster treasure of this experience. THE MOTHERF**ER ... however is even smoother ... cooler.
Further credit, to the enterprise of this young company, Workhorse, ought to be noted, that they have found Adam Cook, recently returned to Sydney after eight successful years running the South Australian Theatre Company (SATC), and engaged him to direct the project. What the STC and Belvoir had no work for Mr Cook? - peculiar. Odd, indeed. Workhorse have some astute artists at the helm it seems. Fingers on the pulse. It is a reward for us, that they do, I can assure you.
THE MOTHER F**CKER WITH THE HAT is a contemporary play dealing with five people in the deep end of addiction and recovery programs. This is an examination not just of the drug addiction of legal and illegal substances that one might pre-suppose, and, certainly, that is part of the issue at hand in this play, but, more daringly, its an examination of the contemporary disease of sex addiction. MOTHERF**CKER, like the recent film, SHAME by Steve McQueen, with Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan, addresses that dilemma, where the need for sex is confused and read as an expression of love but may be nothing more than lust, where the thrust of the "dick" is the drive for the affirmation of being 'alive', a kind of life, from both sides of the human animal dualism.
What is impressive about this play is the uncompromising humanity of the characters and the handling of the incidents of their lives. This play is a comedy for anyone but the trivial. It is a drama without the sugar coating of sentimentality. The text is rendered with warmth and humour presenting an astonishing vision of the endless human capacity to persevere - and to risk it all - in the name of 'love', laying bare the infinite longings and inevitable weaknesses of the human heart and the corroding contemporary influences that lead to huge delusion in this brave 'new' world.
It is, also, one of the most robust language juggles of contemporary vernacular and street talk you will have heard for some time. It sounds culturally and ethnically spot-on accurate and is 'poetry' of a flowing kind that everybody from the street rap-hipsters to the most articulate audience will be thrilled by, rejoice in. An oral torrent of contemporary references in sparkling, surprisingly juxtaposed witticisms and musicalities that are an electrifying jolt, stimulating joy of theatre writing, at its best. Remember the startling slam we had with the arrival of Mr Mamet in the 1980's: GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS? Well, here is the latest and newest blast from the US. It is so spot on, that quoting it may be too 'hot' a controversy - so said the New York Times reviewer - ha, ha. In Australian terms, Lachlan Philpott, is the nearest playwright poet in recent Australian writing that I can make some qualitative allusion too, to compare: COLDER; SILENT DISCO; TRUCK STOP - different, but just as smart and devastatingly accurate.
Jackie (Troy Harrison) is just out of prison, involved in a program of recovery from addiction, under the watchful eye of his sponsor, Ralph D (John Atkinson) and cared tangentially by Victoria, (Megan O'Connell), Ralph's wife. The principal problem for Jackie is that he is in love with and having a full-on relationship with Veronica (Zoe Trilsbach), a still hard hitting 'live' addict, and, in his conflicted dilemma seeks help from a cousin, a childhood friend, Cousin Julio (Nigel Turner-Carroll), who tells him that he both hates and loves him. The play, as David Carr in a New York Times article (June, 2011) observes, is one that Mr Guirgis "saw addiction and its discontents as a good prism to observe people in extremis" and that the recovery program might be perfect as a construct to aid, but that the people in it, maybe not be quite so much - the tragedy of being an animal with a consciousness, having the aspirations of the angel but the needs of the animal. Big Time.
Mr Cook has taken great care in assisting his company of actors through the obstacles of the demands of the text. He has, sensibly, insisted that the particular dialect be observed - and, this certainly delivers the text in top gear for musical affect, and, thus impact (Dialect Coach, Jonathan Mill). He has also encouraged the actors to the 'latin'-like temperatures of the ethnic culture of these characters and the energy histrionics, the sexual power, pays off in that audacity and its consistency (I reckon a further 10% ratchet up would even be better). This production works particularly well in this tight space and the force of the explosive and virile collection of humanity pushes at the audience in a very visceral way - the temperature and humidity rises as the night goes on. The three set locations are as realistic as the modest budget of this company can make them be, designed with quick shorthand clues of difference, by Dylan James Tonkin, in scene changes tightly drilled by Mr Cook. The lighting is efficient (Kim Straatemeier) and the sound (Marty Hailey) maintains the sensibility of the work and keeps it afloat in those scene changes. There is no interval and the growing momentum of the story, with all the volatile twists and surprises of the work, benefits from that. There is no let off.
Mr Harrison as Jackie is a powerhouse of concentration and detail, movingly driven to disaters; Mr Atkinson, as Ralph D the focused sponsor but flawed man, grows in dimension as the play unravels; while Mr Turner-Carroll as Cousin Julio, following up on his recent work in THE GREENING OF GRACE at the Darlinghurst Theatre, balances an outrageously comic-serious creation by Mr Guirgis with delicate and sophisticated finesse. Ms Trilsbach, as Veronica draws a fine arc of struggling humanity and leaves one caring and wondering of her future.
This is another sign of the growing quality and integrity of the fringe, Independent work we are seeing around the less interesting work of the two major players in town. Check out the LENNY BRUCE: 13 DAZE UN-DUG IN SYDNEY 1962 at the Bondi Pavilion, as well.
Welcome back to both Mr Guirgis and especially, Mr Cook.
Run, don't walk, to get to see this production or let your fingers do the walking, as they say. The Tap Gallery is small space and it is a short season. It is right across the road from 'our' new Darlinghurst Theatre in Palmer St. on the corner of Burton St.
P.S. There is, once again, no biography of the writer in this program. It is so consistent an omission in the Sydney Theatre scene that it appears almost, a policy. Shame. Even, more woeful in this instance, is that the inside credit page has all BUT the writer credited. Unbelievable. The writer in this city seems to get no recognition, no respect.
Sydney Opera House presents 3: The Composers. ARVO PART: A Sacred Journey in the Concert Hall.
Last year in early May, I attended The Composers program, STEVE REICH in Residence. A Celebration, curated by Yarmila Alfonzetti for the Sydney Opera House in the Concert Hall and had a very exciting and bliss filled experience. So, The Composers 3: ARVO PART, A Sacred Journey, raised some high expectations, as well, for a similar time. And, although the composer, unlike last year when Mr Reich was present and in charge, Mr Part was instead, represented by Tonu Kaljuste and The Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir.
Avo Part is an Estonian composer, born in 1935, and is a composer of sounds, music of minimalism. The spaces between the notes are as important, it seems to me, as the music notes themselves. He uses a pared-down set of musical elements to yield a kind of ethereal, fuller overall effect of delicate but powerful sounds. Part's musical apprenticeship was subject to the cultural prescriptions of the Soviet bloc, and its preferred aesthetic of 'socialist realism'. His music of the 1960's uniformly demonstrated a fascination with predetermined schemes and musical processes: a fascination noticed (and shared by Steve Reich), among others. And it was after leaving the USSR in 1980, that the Russian Orthodoxy faith, to which he had converted began to be expressed through the sacred music he began to produce, most pronouncedly.
In this concert, the sacred music featured: MAGNIFICAT (1989); 7 MAGNIFICAT ANTIPHONS (1991); CANTUS IN MEMORY OF BENJAMIN BRITTEN (1989) and ADAM'S LAMENT (2009). The Estonian Chamber Choir was led with great concentration, beauty, and, I, especially, was moved by the SALVE REGINA (2011), accompanied by musicians from the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. Well known works such as SPIEGEL IM SPIEGEL (1978); TABULA RASA (1977) and FRATRES (1982) were also given.
This concert left one in a place nearer 'heaven'. A place where contemplation of the spiritual mysteries of our creation could be contemplated. A special night. It was a let down to come back to this earth and the bus ride home.
I had also attended the concert, the night before, given by the Sydney Youth Orchestra in the Studio at the Sydney Opera House and appreciated the compositional level of difficulty that the music of Arvo Part makes. As with last year, the benefits to these young musicians working on such music of such demand, revealed what a remarkable experience for their developmental journeys it must be to have this opportunity.
P.S. As a note for the producers, I do not believe the projected images, and especially the dropping of the artificial snow flakes and gently fanned clothing of the violinist during the Spiegel im Spiegel were a necessary element in the presentation of the music. Rather a ham-fisted reality that, visually, was trite, even kitch, beside the real beauty of the musicianship on stage.
Sunday, April 21, 2013
seriousboys presents GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS by David Mamet at Theatre 19 (the old Darlinghurst Theatre, Potts Point.
From Anne Deane:
GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS by David Mamet (1983), is a very violent play:highly charged, vividly concentrated and bloody with verbal slaughter. This is RESERVOIR DOGS with filofaxes, THE WILD BUNCH with staplers. It is also the most perfect example of Mamet's black comedies, satirising the iniquitous back-biting mores of the times. Its violence resonates in every line, straining the boundaries of the printed page, spilling out in meticulously controlled arias of anxiety and panic. To the salesman in this play, fear is the motivating factor. Willy Loman's hold on his career may have been precarious, but his anxieties were at least only fully realised at an advanced stage. In Mamet's Darwinian nightmare, fear is an omnipresent: it is a permanent pollutant that can never really be eradicated. For these men, there is no rest, only exhaustion. They live on their nerves, anxiety fuelling adrenaline already in overdrive. [A].
RAT-A-TAT, RAT-A-TAT, CLATTER -CLATTER, KABOOM-KABOOM, WHOOSH, KA-BANG, KA BANG. One hears and feels imaginatively the shaking and physical, rattling threat of, perhaps, one of the Chicago Transit Authority's (CTA) trains, launching, lurching past us on the overhead tracks, as we sit bewildered, shocked at the adrenalin machismo driven energy of the effects and acting of this production - a crazed alpha-male train running un-braked across the tracks of Mamet's words, text. Not de-railing, but, not taking on any, many, passengers, either. Those passengers getting on, that get on, surely, know the play, come with pre-knowledge of the 'time table' of the text. Have an outline of the journey - its stations and sights/sign posts. The others just sitting there, feeling the wind and wondering what the "fuck' was that about?
Composer and Sound Designer, Marty Jamieson hurls this production with the actors, the seriousboys company, under the direction of Marcus Graham, onto an empty grey walled space, with the lighting hanging, poised, visibly over all, reverberating, echoing savagedly throughout the auditorium. KA-BOOM: the lights come up and two actors, Barnaby Goodwin (Shelley Levene) and Brett Heath (John Williamson) stand upstage facing each other, profile to the audience and begin an electric sound clatter of the text. It sets up the "run-away-train" pace, the unvarying loud volume of the textual delivery, with the irritant blast of much unvaried vocal pitch, that concludes after only an hour, yes, just one hour, for this performance - a world record time, I should imagine, for this play. A Fast Track journey!
It has been a visceral experience, for sure, if not a storytelling one. Feelings, from being played by the appeals to our sense subjective responses to the effects of the production stylistics, commanded by Mr Graham, dominate any detailed speech-act , objective knowledge of the machinations, mechanisms of this detective story, this psychic plumbing of desperate individuals, this cultural evisceration of the United States at a particular time in recent history.
Of, even today, still, I reckon - hence, its classic status.
In this production, each of the actors, more, and hardly ever less, bang out the scenes in what, I guess, is based around the Meisner technique of impulse. Each word, phrase and sentence building to paragraphs of pursuits of objectives, drawing, coming from the actor's impulse, built from the given circumstances of the context of the scene. It is a legitimate approach to the work of Mamet. Mamet being a 'control-freak' around the orchestration of his text, through massive instructions to the actors, by his challengingly abundant use of syntax to achieve that. Mr Mamet is notoriously difficult to play at speed, because of that design of his work. So dense is the thicket of the syntactical clues on the pages to play Mr Mamet's texts that, the best music parrallel that I can make analogy to, is to look at the notation marks of the scores of say, Rossini or Mozart. The famous line in Peter Schaffer's play, AMADEUS, from the Austrian Emperor to Mozart, "Too many notes", could just as easily be transposed to Mr Mamet as, "Too many syntactical marks." No wonder the chinese whispered remark of Mr Mamet's declaration of, "Just say what I've written, and do what I've written, and nothing else is necessary." In other words, just 'close read' him (any good playwright), battle through the textual clues - it is tedious work, never more so than with Mr Mamet, but of course, in the end, of unbounded value - think them out, not feel them out, and you will have most of the solution to the writer's intent.
However, the impulse to do, to gesture, to speak must be built from the response of the character, characters, one is engaged with. It is not just the speaker that is vital for the story to be read, but, in my estimation, the active listening of the listener, that is of paramount importance, for the audience, to be able to understand what is happening between the characters, other than impassioned indulgence from the verbaliser. The listener is more important in the scene, than, even the speaker, I say. Time after time, in this production, the actor speaking was rushing through his text, not reading the effect of the action that they had made on the character they were talking too, and not constructing their argument, their impulse, from that information. The audience hearing the speaker, look to the receiver, to see what the impact has been, and either the character-listener will reply, or, will still be 'thinking' out his choices, offering an obstacle for the speaker to overcome, to use. It is from this reaction, this registering - look at anything Meryl Streep as put on film, to see what I am talking about - this silent impulse, that the speaker takes as his cue to continue, or not. It is this interaction that teaches the audience how to receive the work, to understand what is happening.
The impulse of the work from the speaker, in this production was mostly inadequate for it was rarely coming from the observation of their protagonist. It was anticipated, learnt energies of expression. Unthinking, mechanical rat-a-tat-tat. Mostly emotional parroting, little real thinking going on, just recitation. There was not enough communication between the protagonists. Most of the time, few of the listeners, the verbal passives in the scenes, registered any complex receiving of information, or presented active thought pursuits/obstacles in reply.
Or, was it because of clumsy staging decisions, I could not read them? (the Opening scene, for instance.)
Most difficult to believe as an active collaborator in his scenes was the work of Joe Addabbo who seemed to be enjoying himself immensely, but, hardly acting with the others, 'giving' to the other actors, maybe, but 'taking', building his performance from them, never, not at all. He simply parroted his way through his scenes blithely underwhelmed by anything the other actors, even the audience, was offering him. It was a very much, "Watch me act" performance.The others could have put their 'undies' on their heads and nothing would have derailed the blind ecstatic joy that this performer was having in this role, one iota. He wouldn't have seen it or be able to use it. No real impulse work going on here, just learnt instruction and habit from rehearsal. And, as he was playing, Richard Roma, a central figure to the drama, this created a great big hole to the veracity of the reality of the production.
Hunter McMahon (George Aaronow); Nick Hunter (James Lingk); and Anthony Taufa (Baylen - the small detective role) were, relatively, anchored and alert to the others in their scenes to construct a collaborative performance. Ivan Topic (Dave Moss - one of the other central characters) struggled to clarify his postures as character in the production.
There is no interval, here, and this two act play,with three scenes in the first act, set, originally, in a booth at a Chinese restaurant, and the fourth scene, the second act, in a continuous time action, is set in a ransacked Real Estate Office somewhere in Chicago, during a police enquiry into a robbery, not indicated with any helpful design elements, except one chair.
Leslie Kane, an expert on the work of David Mamet:
This is a play about power. This is a play about guys, who when one guy is down ... the guy who's up then kicks the other guy in the balls to make sure he stays down. Much of the success of this award-winning play (Pulitzer Prize - 1984) issues from its distinctly robust and electrifyingly vital language, at once rhythmic and ribald, elliptical and illusory, comic and corrosive. Indeed, as John Gross correctly noted (Tragedies of Good and Bad Manners, Sunday Telegraph, 26th June, 1994) "GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS" lives above all through its language, in which inspired elisions and explosive invectives are peppered with "perfectly timed verbal feints and body blows". [B]
It is not just the speaking of this language that is meaningful, it is the personalised thought processes of the actors in character that is essential as well. The thoughts built from the registering of spoken text and gestured actions. This production at the tempo, speed, that it is played at, does not give much opportunity for that to be read, if, it happens at all.
Further, Leslie Kane:
GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS is one of the finest post-war American plays, it has been characterised as a "sardonic, scabrous and really brilliant study of a human piranha pool where the grimly Darwinian law is swallow or be swallowed"; "a savage microcosm ... (of) the urban jungle"; " death in the capitalist food chain"; "one of the most exciting verbal concoctions of the modern theatre"; and a dramatisation of "the Tocquevillian connection between the public self - the hurlyburly of those caught within a business-as-sacrament world - and the private self -the anguished characters' inner reality. Its four real estate salesmen have been labeled everything from "jacketed jackals" to "pedlars of false dreams", "predators preying on susceptible prospects", 'pitchmen caught in the entrepreneurial act", and "fast-talking bottom feeders" whose brand "of gutter English [is] caustic enough to rust pig iron." [B].
If you get off on the after affect of the alpha male sense of uncluttered charismatics, and/or you have some pre-knowledge of the play, you may enjoy this production. I have seen better and more rewarding productions of GLENGARRY GLEN ROSSS than this one. Still, the language is, if caught in the experience, breathtakingly abrasive and thus stimulating even in this train wreck of a production. It is only of an hour in duration, as well.
P.S. No Set or Costume or Lighting designer were indicated in the program. A shame because it looked great. Crisp and clean.
No biography of the writer, either, in the program. seriousboys, just one more of the Sydney theatre companies, ignoring the inspirational source of their work.
1: DAVID MAMET'S GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS. TEXT AND PERFORMANCE. Edited by Leslie Kane. Studies in Modern Drama, Volume 8. Garland Reference Library of the Humanities Volume 1817. Garland Publishing Inc - 1996.
A. The Discourse of Anxiety by Anne Deane.
B. Introduction by Leslie Kane.
2: DAVID MAMET IN CONVERSATION, edited by Leslie Kane. The University of Michigan Press - 2001.
3: GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS by David Mamet.Methuen. London - 1984.