5 Questions with Scott Lee

scottleeWhat is your favourite swear word?
The C-bomb… but only in the confines of my car so know one can actually hear me say it.

What are you wearing?
A green hoodie I stole from my twin brother cause I’m a knob, and the only pair of pants I own (which conveniently has a massive hole in the crotch).

What is love?
I don’t know if I’ve fully figured that one out yet. For me I think it’s the moment when you let all those silly walls we all build down and have the freedom to be yourself (which in my case is being a bit of a nut).

What was the last show you saw, and how many stars do you give it?
Rebels With a Cause directed by Simon Doctor. Was a cool little showcase at NIDA with a whole bunch of scenes from Shakespeare, Chekhov, Harold Pinter, Clifford Odets and other pieces I didn’t recognise but it was great fun and I’d give it 4 stars.

Is your new show going to be any good?
I bloody reckon it will be! 🙂 It’s such a fun play that, I think, already has a massive following. Kenneth Lonergan’s writing is mental! It’s so spot on and human and we are all having a ball rehearsing. The play really speaks to me as a young adult and hopefully will to those who come and see it… but at the very least it’s a hilarious play and I think everyone who sees it will have a giggle, maybe even a laugh out loud.

Scott Lee stars in This Is Our Youth, part of Sydney Fringe 2014.
Show dates: 17 – 21 Sep, 2014
Show venue: TAP Gallery

5 Questions with Megan McGlinchey

meganmcglincheyWhat is your favourite swear word?
Bullshit.

What are you wearing?
Jeans.

What is love?
Zero zero in tennis.

What was the last show you saw, and how many stars do you give it?
Constellations and I would give it 5 stars.

Is your new show going to be any good?
Yes, sir.

 
 
 
 

Megan McGlinchey stars in Gruesome Playground Injuries, part of Sydney Fringe 2014.
Show dates: 24 – 28 Sep, 2014
Show venue: TAP Gallery

5 Questions with David Harrison‏

davidharrisonWhat is your favourite swear word?
The current favorite is ‘slunt’. My best friend Ashleigh can’t bring herself to say c-word but deems this an appropriate substitution.

What are you wearing?
An op-shop find – reversible Giants Baseball Jacket, grey t-shirt and some pajama pants that have cartoon pictures of peanuts on them with the slogan: “Go Nuts”. Yes these are my work clothes.

What is love?
In the paraphrased words of Jeanette Winterson: ‘You don’t fall in love like you fall in a hole. You fall like falling through space. It’s like you jump off your own private planet to visit someone else’s planet. It is a big surprise falling in love because you thought you had everything just right on your own planet and that was true, in a way, but then somebody signaled to you across space and the only way you could visit was to take a giant leap. Away you go, falling into someone else’s orbit and after a while you might decide to pull your two planets together and
call it home. And the falling was really the big jump that you had to make to be with someone you don’t want to be without. That’s it.’ Essentially, love = space travel.

What was the last show you saw, and how many stars do you give it?
I actually just saw Hedda Gabler at Belvoir. I think it was a really worthy experiment in theatre making and I respect and admire both Ash and Adena very much for their talent and courage in an artistic and social climate that doesn’t necessarily support their vision. I give it 4 stars.

Is your new show going to be any good?
I’m a big fan of shows with a lot of heart and compassion. I think that is what the writers and actors have all brought to the table and if we can deliver that to the audience, then we’ve done our job.

David Harrison‏ stars in Out Of Gas On Lover’s Leap, part of Sydney Fringe 2014.
Show dates: 10 – 14 Sep, 2014
Show venue: TAP Gallery
Image by Sally Flegg

Review: Four Places (Outhouse Theatre Co)

outhouseVenue: TAP Gallery (Darlinghurst NSW), Jul 29 – Aug 10, 2014
Writer: Joel Drake Johnson
Director: Nicholas Hope
Cast: Amanda Stephens Lee, Jeremy Waters, Kim Hillas, Briony Williams
Image by Richard Farland Photography

Theatre review
Death affects everyone, but how each of us relates to it differs. People have different expectations about how terminal illnesses should be managed, also which individuals are to be held responsible for the well-being of the dying, and certainly our ideas about the “afterlife” are informed by a wide range of religious and spiritual beliefs, or lack thereof. Joel Drake Johnson’s script explores life at its final stages for the average middle class person, with ruminations about fear, love, family and ideology.

Nicholas Hope’s direction keeps the action very subdued. Its naturalism is so thorough that we often feel like eavesdroppers, and the family that we observe are going about their business with as much mundanity as any other party of three at a casual dining spot. They talk about serious matters, but they rarely allow themselves to react too dramatically. These are not people very open with their feelings, even if one of them is a psychologist. They each have their own secrets, and they seem content with not knowing too much about each other’s. We see the mother character Peggy, wearing an over sized crucifix as a pendant, and we are tempted to associate the stifling oppressiveness with their religious and cultural background.

Peggy is played by Kim Hillas, who is believable and truthful in her interpretation of the script, but she is often too subtle. It is a rare joy to see a play with an older female as its lead character, but we long for greater drama and stronger comedy. The theatre can be a reflection of real life, but it is also storytelling, and we need embellishments in order that our empathy can be amplified and made meaningful. Amanda Stephens Lee has the unenviable task of playing Ellen, the psychologist daughter, who is also a widow still in mourning. The character is a repressed one, and the actor portrays effectively, the dread that is felt when having to manage one’s parents’ illnesses. The role of her brother is performed by Jeremy Waters, who does his best to prevent familial disquiet. We see the character’s frustrations even if his lines give little away, and Waters makes good use of each opportunity that allows some range to his work.

To connect with an audience, a story needs to locate its points of universality and give it emphasis. Four Places has themes that we can relate to, but its characters are not accessible to all. If we do not understand them, their problems become diminished. If they do not fascinate, we lose interest. Every person on a stage has a tale to share, but it is the artistic choices they make that determines how many will be able to hear them.

www.outhousetheatre.com

5 Questions with Kathy Petrakis

kathypetrakisWhat is your favourite swear word?
It would have to be ‘shit’. I probably say it the most frequently. I save ‘fuck’ for the more serious occasions.

What are you wearing?
I have to admit it’s afternoon and I’m still in my pink striped PJs. Writer’s prerogative.

What is love?
Putting someone else’s needs above your wants. A respect and desire to bring out the best in the other person.

What was the last show you saw, and how many stars do you give it?
The Crash Test Drama finals at New Theatre. The best of the 10 minute plays for the season with excellent performances all round – a tough one for the judges. I would give it 4.5 stars.

Is your new show going to be any good?
It’s going to be fantastic! If it can make you shed a tear, it’s done its job. A talented cast really brings the script alive and it’s definitely different to anything else out there right now.

Kathy Petrakis is directing her own play Black Rainbow.
Show dates: 13 – 24 Aug, 2014
Show venue: TAP Gallery

Review: Phaedra (Lies, Lies And Propaganda)

liesliesVenue: TAP Gallery (Surry Hills NSW), Jul 17 – 26, 2014
Playwright: Euripides (based on Hippolytus)
Director: Michael Dean
Cast: Danielle Baynes, Melissa Brownlow, Sinead Curry, Cheyne Fynn, Richard Hilliar, Katrina Rautenberg, Nathaniel Scotcher, Jennifer White
Image by Sasha Cohen

Theatre review
The art of making theatre requires the consideration of space and time. It needs to set itself apart from literature and recorded media like film and music. The audience’s immersive experience is not parenthetical or supplementary, it is central to the appreciation of a work. Michael Dean’s Phaedra uses space and bodies not only to tell stories, but also to enthrall, delight and fascinate our senses. By extensively exploring the possibilities of holding a captive audience, it does what no other art form can. Along with Catherine Steele’s design and Christopher Page’s lighting, we find ourselves inside a blood-soaked painting that is at once romantic and abhorrent. The four fabulous actors who make up the chorus are relentless in acknowledging our gaze, and the seductive power they wield, pulls us further into a world where tears are shed, blood is let and everyone loses their mind.

Phaedra’s story is about desire, its origins, its moralities, and its effects. She falls in love with her stepson, and all hell breaks loose. Phaedra struggles with her thoughts and emotions, and we examine the meanings of our own relationships with love and sex. The production’s director is part of the action, positioned behind two turntables, underscoring performances with old vinyl records that he distorts and scratches. The soundtrack is often discordant, attempting to place distance between us and the characters. We see Euripides’ universe, but we are also reminded of our realities; the two are pitched playfully against each other.

Danielle Baynes as Phaedra, exemplifies sensuality and beauty. She portrays longing and pain with a quiet authenticity, and executes stage directions elegantly. Baynes’ voice and physicality are disciplined and the actor is eminently watchable, but the show wants more intensity from her. Drama is the order of the day, and there is no limit to how much ostentation an actor can bring to the role. Hipploytus is played by the equally beautiful Richard Hilliar, whose presence almost overwhelms the tiny venue. The feminist subversion of his role gives him much to play with, and his choices are shrewd. His lines are flamboyant and powerful, but also primitive and offensive by today’s conventions. The need to be restrained in delivery is appropriate, and Hilliar finds a good balance, constantly shifting between subtlety and theatricality. Theseus is performed with strong emotional commitment by Katrina Rautenberg. It is interesting that her interpretation of the role does not obviously deviate from its inherent masculinity. There seems a missed opportunity for greater commentary on gender, but Rautenberg playing things straight displays effectively, her impressive focus and precision.

The queer aesthetic extends beyond the casting of Theseus. It informs many of the production’s creative decisions and the result is something that feels original and daring. Dean’s show is memorable and exciting, and adds to our cultural landscape, a voice that is not sufficiently represented. It espouses a different way of doing things, one that is thoughtful, spirited, and full of flair. It is irreverent and mischievous, but also dark and heavy. It is why we need the theatre.

www.liesliesandpropaganda.com