Posts Tagged ‘managing carmen

29
Jul
14

And that’s a wrap! Noosa Long Weekend Festival 2014

 

And that’s a wrap! Noosa Long Weekend Festival 2014

 #NLWF2014 #NLWF14 #NLW14

 

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We’re back! But if you’ve been following on social media, you won’t have missed us at all! We’ve been tweeting and instagramming for the last 10 days from the 13th Noosa Long Weekend Festival! And what a festival!

 

Oh yeah. Right. There are still some theatre and cabaret reviews to catch up on…dating back to MAY. I KNOW. I’M APPALLED BY ME TOO.

 

But those will have to wait a little longer because you should really know what you’ve missed out on SO YOU CAN BOOK EARLY FOR NEXT YEAR’S NOOSA LONG WEEKEND FESTIVAL! Lock it in!

 

Noosa Long Weekend Festival July 17 – 26 2015

 

There really is nothing like a Noosa Long Weekend – it’s 10 days of warm winter sunshine, beautiful beaches, the best accommodation, bars and restaurants, and top shopping, arts, literature, forums, food and fun! I honestly don’t know why you’d be anywhere else.

 

XS Entertainment has been involved before – we took Erotique to NLWF12 after sell-out seasons in a Mooloolaba shop front and at the Sydney Fringe Festival in 2010. We had developed Erotique after staging Arthur Schnitzler’s La Ronde, and never felt satisfied with the woman’s character, played at various times by Sharon Grimley and Sarah McMahon (and in Schnitzler’s original script was written as a male character, a fop; we hated him). The Woman we created was elusive but she’d been so strongly brought to life by Sharon, and then by Sarah, we couldn’t let her rest. Or, she wouldn’t let us rest. Sam proposed a new show, which would focus on The Woman, and he cast the three of us to play her – Sharon Grimley, Stephanie Brown and me. Steph was also engaged to choreograph the show, and once I faced facts and realised I was too busy (or too distracted) to write the thing myself, we collaborated beautifully and each wrote our own monologues and selected our own songs.

 

As far as process goes, Sam and I love to work this way, allowing the performers to sing the flesh onto the bones of their characters and discover for themselves why they end up doing what they do. Sam hasn’t always directed this way – he used to be bossier! I’ve loved seeing him discover a magical relationship mantra that goes something like, “Watch, listen, trust, adjust.” He didn’t tell me that, it’s just what I see. Perhaps he’ll disagree. We often disagree and so the two of us working together is not always ideal. The rehearsal studio can get quite heated at times, and it’s not anything to do with the eroticism of the show! Due to its adult content, this show has been particularly challenging to rehearse at home, where an eight-year old has learned to come to terms with getting her own dinner, tidying the kitchen and disappearing to put herself to bed twice a week. We don’t want that to ever happen again. However, everyone has certainly appreciated Poppy’s newly acquired barista skills. She was even making money from the Managing Carmen cast, who left a tip for her at the end of the night!

 

I don’t consider dancing to be my strongest point so Steph’s fabulous choreography was challenging for me. (With any luck, those of you who saw the show wouldn’t have known!). Don’t expect me to take on a dance role again anytime soon, although if I continue to get enquiries I’ll consider giving Burlesque classes. Seriously. Hopefully we’ll see some of those enquiring aspiring strippers work really hard before October on stylishly shedding their layers and singing and chatting away for our inaugural Keep Calm and Cabaret competition because here’s the thing: let’s keep the styles evolving. Some of the best feedback we got from audience members at Diabolique was:

 

I love the old burlesque but I love your new burlesque more.

 

You girls can sing!

 

The character was so strong and the story was so beautiful and sad we forgot you were nearly naked!

 

This is theatre to make you think.

 

It’s theatre on a high wire.

 

This is cabaret? I like this cabaret!

 

Highly sophisticated.

 

Mesmerising.

 

Beautiful theatre.

 

 

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We were lucky to have Travis MacFarlane stop by to design our lighting after just one viewing of the show.

 

Of course the audiences responded to Managing Carmen in an entirely different way. The production was cleverly staged, just as beautifully lit, and so funny, starring Frank Wilkie, Adam Flower, Simon Denver, Marina de Jager and Ashleigh Muekenberger.

 

“It was hard,” says Sam, of directing two productions at once. “The greatest challenge” he says, “was to keep two teams who were very different in nature, in style and in preparation, in my head at the one time.”

 

“I’m very proud to again prove that local talent can mix with our national and international talent. We can hold our own.”

 

I’ll offer some more reflections on the festival along the way, as we catch up on the reviews that are missing here.

 

In the meantime, check out Barry Alsop’s Eyes Wide Open Images from Noosa Long Weekend Festival 2014! Cheers!

 

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03
Jul
14

XS Entertainment at Noosa Long Weekend Festival!

 

Well, by now you will have booked your tix to see our shows at this year’s Noosa Long Weekend Festival! What!? You haven’t!? YOU WILL MISS OUT! 

 

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I haven’t had time to even tell you about what we’re doing, unless you’re following us on Twitter and Instagram, where you will have seen some sneaky peaks at both productions, which we present in association with Noosa Long Weekend Festival.

 

BOOK NOW!

 

 

Managing Carmen is David Williamson’s comedy about a cross-dressing AFL player, directed by Sam Coward. Even if you’ve seen this play before, you’ve never seen it like THIS! That’s right. It’s been Samified AND David Williamson approved. You’ll love the quirks and fast pace of this, what we think might be Australia’s first real farce; one of David’s wittiest observations on relationships and the whole massive media machine within the world of sport.

 

Diabolique is completely different. Dark and sexy, this challenging drama plays at the edges of burlesque and cabaret to tell the intriguing tale of a woman whose life is ruined by a series of questionable choices and one diabolical decision.

 

Diabolique. Image by Peter Trainer.

 

Diabolique. Image by Peter Trainer.

 

Three women play one (yes, it’s me with Sharon Grimley and Stephanie Brown), and we think you’ll love it! We can tell you that considering and sourcing costumes with Adam Flower, who plays Brent Lyall in Managing Carmen has been fun and FUNNY! (Although you won’t see the Honey Birdette on HIM!). Yes, sadly for students (probably happily for their parents), you won’t get in to see this one; it’s 18+

 

We always set out to challenge our actors and audiences with content, themes and skills to start conversations. Who knew we were exotic dancers in another life? Expect to be pleasantly surprised and suitably challenged!

 

My other hot tips for Festival tix? Well, you’ve already missed out on Michael Griffiths and Rhonda Burchmore. Forbidden Broadway, Night of Comedy, Puccini and Fettucini, our inaugural Festival Wrap Dinner and Mandy Sayer are also SOLD OUT! Get in quicker next year! If you can still get tix today, book for Bruce Beresford’s Bonnie & Clyde, Catherine Alcorn, Melody Beck, Anna Goldsworthy, any of the four fantastic forums on offer this year, and of course, Managing Carmen and Diabolique, all almost SOLD OUT! And it’s no wonder with THESE LEGS ON SHOW!

 

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XS Entertainment and Noosa Long Weekend Festival will be live-tweeting and Instagramming so frock up and be ready to say hi, get your Cocktail Capers VIP Pass, visit the restaurants, mingle with old friends and meet some new ones. One of the things I love most about the Noosa Long Weekend Festival is that you meet the most amazing people! I’m especially looking forward to our inaugural opening night Carnivale on Hastings Street. Get ready to get amongst it! Oh, and look out for Bronte and Tara in that crowd! They’ll be helping me cover all things social media related for the ten days of arts, literature, food, forums and FUN! SEE YOU THERE! X

 

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19
Oct
12

Managing Carmen

Managing Carmen

Managing Carmen

Queensland Theatre Company & Black Swan State Theatre Company

QPAC Playhouse

13th October – 4th November 2012

  

Reviewed by Xanthe Coward

 

I tell you what. Get your iCal out in front of you, work out when you can go (at least once), get onto the Queensland Theatre Company’s website to book your tickets and then come back to this window to read my review. Otherwise you might miss out on seeing DAVID WILLIAMSON’S BEST PLAY YET.

 

“David Williamson has the ability to pinpoint a societal issue and expose it through his unique satirical lens.”

Wesley Enoch

 

Managing Carmen is outstanding. It’s tighter, funnier, slicker and more satirical than anticipated. The text is peppered with gag lines, perfectly timed; only a master craftsman like Williamson can convincingly achieve this sort of perfect comedy. It’s already on its way to becoming a massive box office success and it’s essential viewing for anyone who loves their footy and/or high fashion. Or who wants to be entertained during a night out at the theatre. Not such a rare thing in Brisbane this year. Aren’t we lucky?!

 

Managing Carmen

David Williamson, in case you’ve been living in a yurt in Turkey since the 70s, is our most prolific playwright, supposedly “retired” in 2005 (Influence would have been his final work!), but in stubborn objection to ill health and with the help of modern medicine, a theme that features prominently in the 2011 work At Any Cost, Williamson has continued to chronicle our country’s social and political history, providing plum roles for Australian actors and consistently offering on a silver platter, script after script to make any director’s mouth water with the rich potential of each dish. Williamson’s list of plays reads like a degustation menu. See below.

With Managing Carmen already under option, I can’t help but wonder who will make the movie that chronicles David Williamson’s extraordinary life and career? But before we get ahead of ourselves let me tell you about the play.

 

Wait. You have booked your tickets now, haven’t you? Okay. Just checking. You know I don’t want you to miss this one.

Tim Dashwood, sculpted, taut and terrific in the role, is Brent Lyall, the extraordinarily talented two-time Brownlow Medal winning 23-year old AFL star player and…cross-dresser. His addiction is “sufficiently unusual for him and his manager and the rest of the team to be terrified if the word gets out” (David Williamson, interviewed by Frank Hatherley for Stage Whispers). Dashwood proves in this role that he is equally at home in heels or football boots. I hope he feels he can share at some stage his recent training program, diet and supplement intake. Every husband needs to know. Not necessarily the heel practicing (well, they’ve all had a go at that, haven’t they? Well, haven’t they?!), but definitely the hard-core training to get in peak physical condition. Just saying. Dashwood’s super confident, relaxed, sexy and stylish performance as Brent-as-Carmen (that’s Carmen Getme) is a much better pitch for a role in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert than any of those seen on I Will Survive and I won’t be at all surprised if his next offer comes from the producers of a revival (the show closed on Broadway in June). Well, you know Dashwood’s also a singer, right? And he can dance! In heels! On a revolving, glossy, black tiled floor! While it struck me that perhaps his monotone was a bit much at first, I realised almost within the same instant that I HAVE HEARD ELITE SPORTSMAN SPEAK THIS WAY. Also, many, many teenaged boys. We’ll just stop for a moment to acknowledge that this play is for all ages and all sorts. I hope that many, many men and women, of all ages, can bring themselves to turn off the TV, get up off the lounge and get to this show. Williamson writes not just for the “elite” baby-boomer theatregoers but also for everyone now. In fact, I’m in awe of the man’s research skills and application of contemporary Australian language to give us beautifully drawn characters that we feel we already know.

Claire Lovering is Jessica Giordano, the corporate confidence boosting, image-grooming psychologist and eventual love interest (no spoiler there, it’s pretty obvious from the outset and you’re in for a delightful surprise when that deal is sealed with a kiss! A little bit of Luhrmann creeping in there. I almost expected to hear the moon singing! It’s a brave ending and I love it!). Lovering’s finest moment is her penultimate one, but only because we go with her, every step of the way, on her journey to that point.

Anna McGahan Managing Carmen

Anna McGahan, who plays the girlfriend, paid to pose by Lyall’s side for the paps by his ruthless, money-hungry manager, Rohan Swift (John Batchelor), totes pulls off saying “totes” and does so while adopting that odd WAGS cum Orange County Housewife accent that we hear on the red carpet when one of the hotter halves has been asked which designer she is wearing and which often indicates a jet-setting vaporous existence amongst those who have more money than (fashion) sense. Of course I’m over-generalising… Anyway, I love the way McGahan changes sides; the alliance between she and Carmen is completely genuine and their beautifully girly BFF behaviour – most of all their outrageous drunken behaviour – has us in stitches. It’s a very funny play and Wesley Enoch’s deft hand and his fearless, fun approach in directing it is obvious.

John Batchelor is, strangely, halfway to being endearing as Swift; we almost believe that he cares a little bit about his client’s wellbeing…until we see time and time again that he doesn’t! We wonder at first at his groovy moves and frustrated antics and vocals (they come across at first as a little too OTT), but because they’re funny they’re easily forgiven and as the character settles they begin to make sense. I won’t spoil the opening for you. Suffice to say, from the outset, Batchelor is the Basil Fawlty of this farce, skilfully, relentlessly driving the action and flawless Williamson brand of comedy as Enoch sees it.

In fact, it takes a little while to accept that we’re in the middle of a modern-day farce. As Kate Foy observed during interval, instead of doors opening and closing all over the place, we have an eleven metre revolve, which helps keep the action fast and funny, as the actors fall over furniture to get to their next scene. It sounds clumsy but it’s not; it’s beautifully choreographed. While we’re on it, the set almost steals the show; it’s truly gasp-worthy. Designed by Richard Roberts (assisted by Isobel Hutton), the use of this stunning black floored revolve in this space is a coup for Queensland Theatre Company and QPAC’s Playhouse. I love it and I’d love to see more of it. Lit by Black Swan’s Trent Suidgeest, we feel at home in Lyall’s apartment, Swift’s office, a bar, a nightclub and out in the open by the sea, with the help of projected images of clouds and the sounds of a seascape (Sound Designer Tony Brumpton). The only let down on opening night was that the first visual failed to appear on the television screen in Swift’s office, however, that’s an easy fix. Not so easy, now that the season has begun, would be to ask a favour of Eddie McGuire and have The Footy Show excerpts pre-filmed. This extra effort, rather than playing the audio recorded by the actors over random mismatched footage, would make this production faultless. (Audio Visual Designer Declan McMonagle). Also, I appeared to be overdressed in an old LBD and new, flat Siren Bolly shoes, however, that’s just a note to self. I am yet to work out the dress code for Brisbane opening nights. Clearly, so are others. What do you wear to opening nights? Do you dress thematically? I’d like to know. The Brisbane theatre scene is evolving and it feels like it’s time to give the social photographers something special to shoot!

Managing Carmen is stylish, slickly designed and superbly written, directed and performed. It places the spotlight unforgivingly over our obsession with celebrity and the insane pursuit of sponsorship and monetary gain over recognition and reward for true talent in just about every arena. Challenging our levels of tolerance, understanding and acceptance of difference in an entertaining, energetic farce, Wesley Enoch’s production of David Williamson’s Managing Carmen is a true blue theatrical triumph.

Anna McGahan & Tim Dashwood Managing Carmen

David Williamson – list of plays

The Indecent Exposure of Anthony East (1968)

You’ve Got to Get on Jack (1970)

The Coming of Stork (1970)

The Removalists (1971)

Don’s Party (1971)

Jugglers Three (1972)

What If You Died Tomorrow? (1973)

The Department (1975)

A Handful of Friends (1976)

The Club (1977)

Travelling North (1979)

Celluloid Heroes (1980)

The Perfectionist (1982)

Sons of Cain (1985)

Emerald City (1987)

Top Silk (1989)

Siren (1990)

Money and Friends (1991)

Brilliant Lies (1993)

Sanctuary (1994)

Dead White Males (1995)

Heretic (1996)

Third World Blues (1997, An Adaptation Of Jugglers Three)

After The Ball (1997)

Corporate Vibes (1999)

Face to Face (2000)

The Great Man (2000)

Up for Grabs (2001)

A Conversation (2001)

Charitable Intent (2001)

Soulmates (2002)

Flatfoot (2003)

Birthrights (2003)

Amigos (2004)

Operator (2005)

Influence (2005)

Lotte’s Gift (2007) – also known as Strings Under My Fingers

Scarlett O’Hara at the Crimson Parrot (2008)

Let The Sunshine[4] (2009)

Don Parties On (2011)

At Any Cost? (2011)

Nothing Personal (2011)

When Dad Married Fury (2011)

Managing Carmen (2012)

Managing Carmen moves to Black Swan State Theatre Company’s Heath Ledger Theatre 10th November – 2nd December and, with an entirely different cast, directed by Mark Kilmurry, Ensemble Theatre presents their production of Managing Carmen 6th December – January 25th.

A live simulcast of the world premiere co-production from the Black Swan Theatre Company (Perth) with Queensland Theatre Company will be presented on 30th November in the Cummins Theatre, WA.

David Williamson’s MANAGING CARMEN is a “laugh-out-loud comedy for anyone who likes who likes football or designer dresses and a crackling funny dissection of stereotypes in sport. Brent is a country boy turned footy star: captain of his AFL team, king of product-endorsements, with a model girlfriend and ruthless sports manager. But Brent’s hiding one little thing that could ruin his career and end the advertising money: his passion for cross-dressing….”

Cast includes: John Batchelor, Timothy Dashwood, Claire Lovering, Anna McGahan, and Greg McNeil

Directed by Wesley Enoch

***This live simulcast event is FREE***

Friday, 30 November at 730pm
the Cummins Theatre
31 Bates Street
Merredin, Western Australia

 




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