Category Archives: Theatre

Love and Light published in the US


ten minute plays 2012
Love and Light was published in the US in 2012 in The Best Ten Minute Plays, 2011 – edited by Lawrence Harbinson
 
Love and Light is one of my most successful plays. Here’s a short synopsis:

Tania’s deceased husband has left her with bills to pay, no job and no idea where he stashed the money. Will consulting a Psychic provide her with the answer she seeks?

The book can be bought on Amazon.com
First Published: 2012
Publisher: Smith and Kraus
ISBN: 978-1-57525-782-2

Published by Smith & Kraus, 2011 (THE BEST TEN-MINUTE PLAYS 2011)

Produced for Ten in 10, Shepparton, Australia, July 20112008

Produced for Short & Sweet Malaysia 2008, Judges’ choice, best runner-up actor (male and female)

Produced for Short & Sweet Melbourne 2008

Produced for “Eight-in-a-Box”, Drama Centre Black Box, Singapore 2009

Produced for Favourite Shorts 2009, Armidale, NSW (WINNER)

Produced for Short and Sweet Sydney 2009

Produced for SHOWOFF!, San Juan Capistrano, California, 2009

Produced for 10 Min Madness Festival, San Diego, 2009

Produced for Pint-Sized Plays 2009 (UK)

Produced for PLAYTIME @ World Bar 2010 (Sydney)

Produced at the Otterbein University in Columbus (Westerville), Ohio, May 2010

Broadcast on audiobookradio.net, May 2010

 

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War Horse – the show


War Horse has made it to Melbourne!

war horse
After being premiered in London in 2007 , War Horse went on to win a number of awards including two Laurence Olivier Awards and five Tony Awards. It has been played at London’s National Theatre, the West End’s New London Theatre and New York’s Vivian Beaumont Theater at Lincoln Centre. And it has just hit Melbourne.

War Horse – the show – is based on a book by Michael Morpurgo. I have not read the book, but I have seen the movie by Steven Spielberg. The story is about Joey, the horse, and Albert, the boy who raises him. A strong bond develops between the two and Albert is heart-broken when his father sells Joey to the British cavalry at the outbreak of World War I. Joey is then shipped to France where he is caught up in enemy fire and goes through a number of terrible adventures between German and British troops. Amazingly, Albert who could not forget Joey and has enlisted, manages to find the horse and bring him home. Okay, the story is a bit lame, but it does captivate the mind. It’s not a light story, the movie itself is very graphic, and so is the show. One thing that kept bothering me is how much time is spent weeping over the horse when hundreds of thousands of soldiers are being killed – often in horrible circumstances – around him. I know that this is the story, but it is at the same time a little disturbing. There are differences between the movie and the show, the story takes shortcuts in the show, but that’s to be expected, and sometimes it’s even outright different. I have not read the book, so I don’t know what the original story is like.

War Horse is quite the spectacle. I was amazed at the life-size puppets, created by South Africa’s Handspring Puppet Company. They are totally amazing and look eerily real. It was wonderful to see those horses on stage and you quickly forget they are puppets. The way the ears move, the shiny eyes, the tail, the limbs, it’s all wonderful, really. If anything, that’s just worth going to see. The horses even gallop on stage! It was breathtaking. I found the second part too dark for my liking, but it’s all about the war after all. The episode with the French girl is puzzling – I found it lacked clarity in the show and didn’t add much. The casting was interesting, as the French girl is black in the show, and her mother white, so you have to assume the father was black – a very common thing nowadays (Thank God) but very unusual in 1915, especially in the Somme region. I can’t help wonder what the original girl was like in the book, does anyone know? Of course, the accents are fake (I, for one, can tell!) but they help wonderfully when the French, the British and the Germans are talking to each other. All together, a great show.

Here’s the movie trailer:

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Rabbit Hole


I first saw Rabbit Hole as the famous play by David Lindsay-Abaire, which won the 2007 Pullitzer Prize for Drama. In fact I saw the Australian premiere in Sydney at the Ensemble Theatre a few years back. It’s a great play, sad and funny at the same time, and tackling a difficult subject, the grieving process of a couple who have lost their only son, run over by a car in front of their house. Lindsay-Abaire’s writing is subtle, yet powerful, and never in-your-face. I loved it.

I have just now watched the 2010 movie version of the play, directed by John Cameron Mitchell, and with Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart in the main roles. It is good as well – Kidman does a great job I find – but it lacks some of the good (read: funny) moments of the play, which lightened the atmosphere. Those moments are essentially those where Becca’s (Kidman’s) sister appears – I adored her character. The play and the movie are different, and having seen the play first did not make the movie any better or worse. It’s just two sides of the same story. And a good one.

Movie trailer:

And a video about the Australian premiere at the Ensemble Theatre:

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COCORICO


I’ve been meaning to write a few words about COCORICO, a show that I went to see a few weeks ago, and which was part of Le French May Arts Festival here in Hong Kong. It is a duet made of two Frenchmen, Patrice Thibaud, a hilarious physical comedian, and Philippe Leygnac, an amazing musician. The show is in mime and with music. I hadn’t laughed that much in a long time. Thibaud is an expert at making you understand a situation with only a few gestures, and at making you scream with laughter at the same time. As for Leygnac, he is a genius – just visualise him playing the piano while his compadre keeps pushing the piano left, right and back, and you will understand what I mean. The show can be seen by people of all ages – in fact, children should rush to see it, I can guarantee you they will love it as much as adults do. Judging by the number of encore and the duration of the applause at the end, the audience lapped it up. The show is made of a series of tableaux, all linked by one element. It lasts about an hour and a half. I still haven’t got over the surprise created by Leygnac jumping out of a suitcase that had been standing at my feet for a few minutes. Ten stars!

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In the Next Room or The Vibrator Play


I am finally connected again. Between the Japan earthquake and tsunami and my travels to Kunming, it’s been hard to find a working internet connection. I seem to have solved this problem for the moment. Before leaving Hong Kong, I went to see In the Next Room or The Vibrator Play by Sarah Ruhl at the Mcaulay Studio, Hong Kong Arts Centre. What a night! This play, which premiered at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre on February 5, 2009 is absolutely fantastic! It was nominated for three 2010 Tony Awards, and I understand why. I hadn’t laughed so much at the theatre in a very long time. The dialogues are witty, the subject funny, its treatment clever, the structure of the play works well and it’s easy to relate to the characters, even if they are from the US in the late 1800s. The play is about a doctor who uses recently discovered electricity to treat women suffering of hysteria and depression with a piece of equipment that he created himself: a vibrator! But Ruhl’s play is not a joke about the medical world, its real topic is the misunderstanding between men and women, the lack of expression of emotions, the absence of well-developed sexuality, and even female fertility. It’s a play you will remember for a long time. It’s a little in your face at times, which probably explains why it was only for over 18 years olds in Hong Kong, but I highly recommend it to anyone who wants a great night out. I’d see it again any time.

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It’s Friday! Body Swap interview, Yunnan trip etc


Only two more days in Hong Kong! I am getting ready for a trip to Kunming (Yunnan, China) which will see me away from home for six weeks. I will be going to a Mandarin school in the morning to improve my Chinese speaking and reading skills, so that I can be fluent enough to work in the language. I am looking forward to the experience, although I know it will be challenging. I’ll continue to work in the afternoons, in between excursions and discovery trips. Yunnan is a stunning region with many minorities living there. I will make sure to let you know what it’s like.

I’m excited to be going to the theatre to see In the Next Room or The Vibrator Play tonight, for which I will post a review tomorrow. On another note, I have been interviewed by Jess C Scott, author of The Other Side of Life about my novel Body Swap and my work. You can read the full interview here.

body_swap

Author Interview #26, with author/playwright/management consultant Jerome Parisse, who grew up in France where he developed a love for language, literature, and good food!

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Educating Rita


Last night I saw “Educating Rita”, the play by Willy Russell at the McAulay Studio in Wanchai, Hong Kong. For those of you who don’t know the play, it premiered on the 10th of June 1980 at the Royal Shakespeare Company Warehouse in London with Julie Waters as Rita and Mark Kingston as Frank, and received the Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Comedy. It was also adapted into a movie in 1983, starring Michael Caine and Julie Walters, and directed by Lewis Gilbert.

Educating Rita is the story of the relationship between a young working-class hairdresser from Liverpool and Dr. Frank Bryant, a University lecturer in English literature, which takes place during one full year. We witness how Rita (who later calls herself Susan), dissatisfied with her life and education level, enrolls in an Open University course in English Literature, meeting her tutor Frank and learning “everything” from him. Rita learns fast but Frank (who deals with his own demons) is devastated to see her losing her individuality and the mere reason why he’s fallen for her. He can’t bear to see her adopt the superficiality of so many of the other students. It’s an interesting topic, it’s fun to watch and it makes you think… all the ingredients of a good play – and a good night.

The actors, Kim Haslam and Adam Harris, did a good job, even if – in true Hong Kong style! – they were sick: Haslam tried to suppress a nagging cough during the whole play (through lots of drinks and a few Fisherman’s friends –  I admire her for being able to speak clearly with one of those in her mouth) and Harris had the sniffles. They were not the only ones; the audience echoed their plight! An honest production.

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Grease… or a failed English test


Last night I saw Grease, the musical, at the Hong Kong Lyric Theatre. We went with a large group of friends, which was part of the fun. The Lyric Theatre is not a very big theatre, which is fine, except that for a musical, I tend to prefer big, visual performances. Grease was fun to watch and took me more than thirty years back when I was sitting an English language test. The teacher said to the class something in English, which he asked us to translate into French. We were thirteen years old and had only been learning English for about six months or so, so we had no idea what he had just said. He decided to give us a clue and said, “This is the title of a song that can be heard on the radio every ten minutes at the moment.” Suddenly all the girls in the class got really busy and started scribbling things down ,while we boys were at a loss about what it all  meant. What the teacher had said was, “You’re the one that I want”, the title of the famous movie song. Of course, all the girls got it right and we boys failed miserably. We were fuming and accused our teacher of discrimination and of being totally unfair. That’s when I started paying attention to English songs. Of course, Olivia Newton-John is Australian and I am now one of her fellow countrymen, which makes the song even more special for me. And yes, I have forgiven my English teacher.

Last night’s performance was of good quality and the dancing and signing were (technically) fine. I must admit however that I found it missed emotion. It was fun, great to watch, and the audience did participate, but for me it lacked that special thing that makes you never forget a show. No big names, as far as I know, in the supposedly “spectacular international cast”. The girl who played Sandy really looked like Newton-John, especially at the end when she leaves behind her goodie-goodie persona. The guy who played Danny, on the other hand, was on the chubby side and looked more like John Travolta in his forties than in his twenties! Having said all of that, I had a great night. Hurry up if you want to see it, as it finishes on the 7th of November.

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Talc


Sam and Kate have just moved in together. Sam is over the moon but Kate seems a little unnerved… Her new diamond ring, given to her by Sam to celebrate their recent engagement, is causing her grief, but not the kind of grief you would expect from a piece of jewelry. Kate very quickly enters a downward spiral of guilt, which will end in the unspeakable.

I won’t spoil the play, in case you want to go and see it. Talc is a powerful piece, which focuses on the demons buried deep inside us; it reveals how fast one can go down and how helpless the world around them can prove to be in such a situation. I loved the structure of the play, how the first and last scenes fit together, and how the intensity of emotions increases with each scene. The writing is excellent, and the sparse, white setting enhances the emotional aspects of the play. I adored the bed scene, played entirely standing against a wall. Lucas Connolly and Jo Richards do a very good job – you’re there with them all the way.

Talc is produced by Subtlenuance (www.subtlenuance.com) at the TAP Gallery, 278 Palmer Street, Darlinghurst, written by Daniela Giorgi and directed by Paul Gilchrist. It finishes on 1st August, so hurry up if you want to see it. Tuesday to Saturday 8pm, Sunday 5pm.

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Playtime


What is Playtime?

Playtime is an initiative of  The Wall with Actors Anonymous, a collaboration of some of Australia’s finest theatrical talent has produced a brand new format for presenting theatre in Sydney. A selection of short plays that are pre-rehearsed with directors, then read by trained actors to an audience in the fully licensed World Bar Club Room.
For more information about Playtime visit their Facebook page.

Playtime 5 took place last night, with one of my plays in it, What if it’s bad news?”

Here was the full programme:

Jesus Hates You, by Robert Shaffron, directed by Amelia Tranter,
Cast: Cindi Knapton, Peter Talmacs, Kate Buchanan.
“An obsessed ex-gay couple celebrate their wedding anniversary by learning to embrace a little good old-fashioned self-loathing.”

Tissue of Lies, by Jackie Greenland, directed by Beverley Callow,
Cast: Carlos Sivalingam, Valentino Arico, Erin Bruce.
“A box of tissues brings a judge to his knees, a doctor into disgrace and hope to a convicted prisoner”

Good Woman Smoking, by Gina Schien, directed by Ron Hadley,
Cast: Kay Simons, Stella Di Zotti.
“Sally worships her new rock-star boss, but can she cope with her bizarre backstage rules?”

What if it’s Bad News? by Jerome Parisse, directed by Stephen Carnell,
Cast: Alana Wesley, Ted Crosby.
“An unopened letter is about to change someone’s life forever.”

BREAK

Mates, by Kate Toon, directed by Craig Delahoy,
Cast: Matt Thomson, Wayne Underwood.
“Stevo and Davo meet every week to watch the footie. This week, Davo has something to say.”

Three in a Departure Lounge, directed by Melissa Lee,
Cast: Alastair Buchanan, Kristy Payne, Dudy Jap.
“Backpacking in Asia, Gerard and Mitzi have lost their money — will this misfortune bring them closer together?”

Size Matters, by Craig Delahoy, directed by Liane Norman,
Cast: Kate Buchanan, Alana Wesley, Matt Thomson.
“Obsession and self-esteem are so subjective. Unless they’re your own.”

First Assignment by Frank Davidson, directed by Melissa Lee
Cast: Steven McGrath, Rebecca Elliot, Aaron Nilan, Garreth Cruickshank.
A young journalist’s first assignment is to interview Hitler.

Playtime takes place every month. Make sure to book a ticket for the next performance, it’s always full!

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