Posts Tagged ‘Directing

02
Apr
14

Director’s Top Tips – a chat with the Director of COCK, Leticia Caceres

 

We caught up with Director of MTC’s Cock – Leticia Caceres

 

Leticia_Caceres-WEB

What can you tell us about MTC’s Cock?

Mike Bartlett wrote Cock while in Mexico where they still have ‘cock fights’. He became fascinated with how this blood sport could act as a metaphor for theatre: people gathering in an intimate space to watch creatures tear each other to pieces. Cock captures the spirit of THE cockfight, as three characters battle it out to stake their claim on each other’s hearts.

I’ve tried to honour this through the way we’ve staged this production. It’s very pared back, the actors work their guts out and go at each other with everything they’ve got and the language is used like weapons in this ferocious love triangle.

 

How did you cast Cock?

I started by casting the male characters first. I wanted to get this relationship right. Tom Conroy (playing John) had blown me away a couple of years back when he performed in Declan Green’s Moth; he was extraordinary. When he delivered his monologue in the audition, I recall being deeply moved by his take on the character of John. He brought something very authentic to the role, and a beautiful mix of sensuality and naiveté, the right touch of courage and fear. He had clearly approached the part with deep compassion. On top of that, he has a wonderful sense of humor and he is quite a looker, so he ticked all the boxes really! Everyone else was cast based on the kind of connection and chemistry they shared with Tom. They needed to not only act with truth, but make us believe that they could have a strong physical connection for each other.

 

Why led you to directing? Is there anything you wish you’d known or done to make the move from university into the industry easier?

I started directing because I was the actor that was always interrupting the director to ask questions: “why are we doing this? what are you trying to say? what does this mean?”. I drove everyone crazy, so in the end it was easier to direct my own work and answer my own questions.

I wish I’d started directing earlier at uni. I didn’t think about directing as a career option for myself until I was in third year. I wish QUT had of had a more dedicated directing course, I think this could have accelerated things. But I was encouraged by my directing teachers (Sean Mee and Mark Radvan, who were very supportive) and I found my way by making work, and this is really the most effective means of becoming a director.

 

How did you get your first job as a director?

Michael Gow gave me my first paid job as a director. He offered to be my Mentor soon after he took over QTC. I spent a year following Michael around and then he let me direct a couple of readings. He was very trusting.

 

Who are your greatest influences? Who do you still want to work with?

I spent six months in Argentina studying under one of the great directors of Latin America (Juan Carlos Gene who passed away two years ago). He was my master. He deeply influenced how I direct. He taught me how to talk to actors. I hear his voice all the time when I’m working. He is unquestionably my greatest influence.

I would love to work with Robyn Nevin.

 

How does directing for the stage differ to film/television directing?

The stage is much more about language and the body. This means we are asking of the audience to really listen and be much more active in using their imagination. This is why language is so important on the stage and why the body (gesture, shape, spatial relations) becomes so critical. The audience is reading interactions on stage and filling in the gaps, making up the story in their heads, imaging locations, time, mood etc . Theatre can’t afford to be prescriptive as film, its much more evocative and that’s what makes it such a unique art form.

 

How do you communicate your vision to designers and actors?

We have long conversations about the themes of the work and what we want to say through it. This becomes a very shared process where we all agree on what we all want to say, how we want the world to be reflected through this story on the stage. Sometimes, what translates is a very emotional landscape, that’s abstract and distilled (as is the case with Cock) sometimes, it’s about functionality (we might need a literal representation of a space).

 

What do you look for in a text to help fuel your vision? How much do current events and your own experiences influence a piece?

I ask three things of a text – Is it entertaining? Is it political? Does it have heart?

 

What have you learned from previous productions about working with actors?

Semantics is everything.

 

 

What do you expect from your actors?

A sense of humour, patience, generosity and a physical precision. I can’t stand it when actors are not in their bodies.

 

 

How much do you “direct” your actors and how much do you let them “play”?

It’s always a combination of both. I try to let them play as much as possible. It’s no use if an actor can’t find a moment organically; if you tell them what to do and how to do it, it always looks and feels contrived. What I do is give specific actions to play “attack, distract, seduce, antagonize, vilify”. If you are specific about the intention and the action, then all else is up for grabs.

 

Can you tell us about RealTV?

We are still very much in operation! We’ve been making work for over a decade together, and we have lots of exciting projects on the boil. We are currently under commission from Belvoir St, working on a play about drugs and globalization. Angela Betzien is really pushing her writing into really extraordinary territory. She’s one of the fiercest playwrights in the country.

 

Do you prefer to work on classic or contemporary texts?

Contemporary.

 

What are your thoughts on new Australian plays and our upcoming writers and directors? What do our writers need to be writing? What roles/stories do you want to see and direct?

There is some phenomenal new writing at the moment. I’m excited by the way Australian writers are tackling big ideas and contemporary concerns. Savages by Patricia Cornelius which was recently staged in Melbourne and is sweeping all the major awards in Victoria at the moment is an extraordinary piece of writing inspired by the murder of Dianne Brimble on the P&O a couple of years back. She wrote the whole thing in imperfect prose, the actors (five males) morphed in and out of blokes and dogs, and the whole thing was both funny and intensely uncomfortable. It was a fascinating investigation of the male psyche and misogyny in contemporary Australia. I’m still affected by this production, almost a year on. This is exactly the kind of work I crave to see on the stage.

 

What’s your view of Australian theatre right now?

There is so much great work being made at the moment. I can list a bunch of companies from around the country and artists whose work I wouldn’t miss for the world. Great writing, bold visions, wonderful acting, stunning design.

 

 

What are top tips for aspiring theatre directors?

 

Make work you want to see and don’t worry about anything/anyone else. Build a strong creative team who all share a language. See as much theatre as you can. And direct like a motherfucker. What that means is up to you.

 

 

 

MTC’s Cock continues at La Boite’s Roundhouse Theatre until April 12 2014. If you can still get a ticket it will be here.

 

 

31
Jan
13

Strange Attractor – Sam Coward

Strange Attractor

Strange Attractor

A Chat with Sam Coward

 

It’s hard to catch my husband for more than 2 minutes at a time so we’re lucky we got this much out of him.

This weekend is your last chance to see Sam in what he says will be his final role on stage for a while. And he’s good. And I’m his biggest critic. You should see this production, it’s good; it’s Simon Denver’s staging of Sue Smith’s bold Australian play about a Pilbara community rocked by the unexpected death of their mate, Gus, played by Sam.

 

Tell us about Gus

Gus has a fairly fast decline from being enthusiastic and somewhat superficial about his role as the safety officer. He’s got an IQ of 133. And then all of a sudden we see his decline; he’s obviously been in the job too long and he sees the de-civilisation in the camp that brings him to breaking point. He resorts to drugs and alcohol, which leads him to doing something stupid. Perhaps if he weren’t depressed he wouldn’t have taken the risk, which ultimately led to his death. Did the drugs and alcohol make the risk possible?

 

How much has the environment contributed to the death of Gus?

Gus is a good man. You see him trying to fit in and he’s an Alpha but it’s not about intellect in that environment. It’s as superficial as “might has right” and it’s a Neolithic hierarchy. Placed in those extreme environmental conditions, combined with a lawless and loveless mental condition, basic instincts govern.

 

Are there any answers by the end of the play?

By the end we learn that relationships are all that matter but people are still going to be attracted to the bright lights and the promise of money. They’ll put themselves into shit conditions to make a lot of money fast. The resource boom FIFO jobs are traps. They sound like they’re a good thing for the family, they’re sold attractively but these jobs are just cheese in the trap. The alcohol, the drugs…

There must be people who find the lifestyle attractive. It’s empty, shallow, and it’s easy until you stop and think about it. It’s purely about the wants. There’s no love, there are just connections.

 

What’s it like to play a dead guy?

It’s funny. Because you’re one of the guys but you’re not performing as one of the guys. They’re all talking about me but I’m not there talking with them. I have a different relationship with them.

 

Tell us about working with SRT

The company is cavalier, crazy and raw. Whether the success of their shows is by accident or design we’ll never know. Simon says the success of a show is 99% casting and he’s right; that’s what we see him do.

There’s a high degree of trust in the SRT process, where actors in the fold are trusted and it’s more a baptism of fire for the newbies. Weaknesses are exposed, ridiculed, and laughed about until they’re not weaknesses anymore. It’s survival of the fittest. You can either work the way we work or you can’t. There’s no management and no handholding. Everybody knows what he or she is doing and they expect you to do the same. When you join SRT for a production it’s sink or swim.

 

So describe the rehearsal process…

BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Oh. You mean Bump In and Tech? That’s it. No, really, that’s it.

 

Is this an important play?

Yes, it’s very relevant; it takes an up close look at the impact of the FIFO phenomenon on Australian families. There’s so much perpetuated about the mining culture and this is a glimpse at the truth.

 

What’s this about a Boys’ Shed at Noosa Arts Theatre?

The Mens’ Sheds comprise men over 60 who hang out and build stuff. The proposal is to start up a boys’ arm of the Mens’ Shed to provide role models for the sons of FIFO fathers, as well as opportunities to learn and apply new practical skills. It’s an old school idea for a new generation of Lost Boys.

 

What about a Girls Shed?

Well, they’re everywhere…salons, stores, and coffee shops.

 

Righto… What’s next? The Pirate Show is ongoing, at least until the 22nd. What do you have on after that?

Soiree_2013The Pirate Show is the first theatre restaurant concept the Sunshine Coast has seen for years so we hope to bring you a return season later in the year. We have some other concepts up our puffy pirate shirt sleeves too. Next Saturday 9th February the Sunshine Coast Theatre Alliance presents their annual Soiree, a night of fun and great food, and the season launches from our Alliance theatre members. Check out livetheatre.com.au for details on how to book and how to get involved at your local community theatre.

 

Following that, I’m involved behine-the-scenes with Noosa Arts Theatre’s West Side Story, directed by Synda Turnbull, and I’m directing opening and closing pieces for the Noosa International Food and Wine Festival and Floating Land. And you know XS has a heap of other projects, which we’ll reveal details about later in the year.

 

Book online for Strange Attractor

 

Book online for the Sunshine Coast Theatre Alliance Soiree

 

Find audition info for the Noosa Arts National One-Act Playwriting Competition and West Side Story here

 

 

 

18
Nov
12

Steven Mitchell Wright: Children of War

Children of War

On Friday night at La Boite’s Roundhouse Theatre in Kelvin Grove, an epic theatrical event took place.

 

The Danger Ensemble’s production – La Boite’s final indie installment of the year – Children of War opened.

 

We asked Director, Steven Mitchell Wright, a few things about theatre, life and art…

The world is no longer safe from art

 

Can you tell us about your new production, the epic mythical mash-up, Children of War

The work is a part of a larger play cycle that Chris Beckey and I have been collaborating on since late 2009, We have been drawing on different sections of The Illiad and The Orestia across 3 different projects, In God We Trust, i war and Children of War. This particular section of the story investigates the lesser known characters on both sides of the Trojan War. To say that seems almost a blaspheme, that is to say that, that is certainly where we started, but the life of the work has developed it’s own voice, Chris Beckey has shaped the work in a way that sits in a timeless space, the innate history and passion embedded in the myth collides headlong with the brevity and energy of today.  
 
The work is huge, it’s completely unashamedly epic. It has to be. In a lot of ways it is a departure from the kind of work people expect of me as a director and expect of us as a company but we never promised anything, we allow works to find their own voice and that voice dictates the form and style of the work.

What inspires you to imagine such stories and variations on stories? 
 
As a company, we pursue relevance and excitement, I think the fundamental question of why? why this story? why now? why these actors? why this space? why bother? It’s those questions that drive the variation on the stories we explore, it’s about aggressively pursuing the now and the why.
 
Your dreams must be in vivid colour! What’s your process and approach as a director once you’ve seen the possibilities of an idea? Can you describe your directing style?
My directing style is probably best described as a combination of giving the actors and creatives a lot of freedom to discover their voice and reasons for doing the work and then a demanding exactitude for detail and clarity of choice after that exploration has completed. On the floor I am, quite extreme, I find myself going from very quiet and internal to extremely animated. When the energy in the room is working I often find myself pacing or swaying.
 
Children of War
Do you bring the actors or the creative team in first? 
 
Actors, I always begin with actors in the space. Whenever possible. It goes back to that pursuit of relevance. I think the voice of the work has to be found through the actors before it is shared with anyone else. I look for the heart of a work through the actors choices and instinct.

You are up to some more incredible things next year, which we are not allowed to talk about yet! What can you tell us about, in terms of upcoming projects/ambitions/ideas?
 
Ha! I can’t say a lot about next year, except to expect two new works from us. Both very different to each other and again different from what we have produced this year. In writing this, I realise just how different the works are, one is very much about reality and real-real life and the other explores more fantastical and escapist ideas.
Do you think it’s a responsibility of the artists to experiment in form, content and delivery? Do you think this is happening enough (in Brisbane, in Australia), and what is it that helps to grow audiences (in Brisbane, in Australia)?
 
I think it’s a responsibility of artists to continue to build our culture, to broaden our understanding of ourselves and the world we live in, I also think it’s our responsibility to respect audiences enough to challenge them somewhat. To assume that an audience is not ready for experimentation is simply patronising. I think all work is in a way an experiment, there is a hypothesis entering and sometimes a conclusion drawn at the end of it all. I don’t believe all artists need to be overtly experimental, they need to service their work and they need to speak to an audience.
 
How do you wind down after a show (each night and at close of season)?
 
Often very briefly, this year has been insane and by the end of the season we are usually already in rehearsals for something else. I’m actually fairly terrible at taking down time but I’ve been working on it, I’ve been spending more time with friends, music and vodka. I struggle to wind down because I find the energy of a work has a roll on effect for me, I am motivated by it and it drives me into the next thing. I am aware that this isn’t sustainable long term though, so I’m aiming to catch up on cinema, television, books, music and lovers over Christmas.
Children of War
 
What are you reading?
 
The Bible, actually…
 
What’s on your playlist a) in the rehearsal room b) in the car c) in the kitchen at home?
 
Godspeed! You Black Emperor is a staple to my life. Children of War has forced me to listen to a lot more Ke$ha and T-swizzle (Taylor Swift) than ever before.
 
For my enjoyment I’ve been listen to Fleetwood Mac (I got kind of obsessed with them during Loco Maricon Amor), Mirah (recently introduced to me), Amanda Palmer’s Theater is Evil album (which is a nice departure from her other stuff, has a depeche mode kinda vibe) and The XX’s new album (which I don’t love, it feels like a sequel to the previous album…)
Children of War
 
Who would you most like to work with one day and why?
I would love to collaborate with a lot of musicians, A Silver Mt Zion and The Faint spring to mind – I’d love to make a musical with them. I’d love to collaborate with The Blondes on a show. I would LOVE to work with Pamela Rabe and Paul Capsis. Jan Fabre. Michel Gondry. Lars Von Trier. The list could go on.

What strengths have this current group of performers brought to the production? 
 
The actors are amazing. They are actually just incredible. I am not going to say much more. Come see it.
Children of War
 
Do you seek out specific feedback from those whose opinion matters to you? Throughout the process? How does that help or hinder the process?
 
It depends on the process, sometimes, with this project I did. Sometimes, I don’t feel ready for people to see the work until we are in the theatre and with all the elements in place. Often when devising and presenting from a devised space without a scripting process, I don’t bring people in.. when working with a script I feel more comfortable bring people in to give feedback. It’s about energy, it’s also about where the actors are at. 
With what will Children of War leave us? Are there lessons for us?
 
I don’t believe in telling anyone what they SHOULD leave a work with, I know what I see and find in the work, and I know how I’ve shaped the work and I know what the heart of the work is at – I don’t really believe that my role within theatre is to teach the audience anything. There is a lot in the work and I suspect different people will find different things. If people are engaged, if people are moved then I have done my job.
 
An incredible opportunity exists for performers, writers, directors and teachers to take part in an upcoming workshop with The Danger Ensemble’s Artistic Associate and the writer of Children of War, Chris Beckey, who will lead participants in consideration and exploration of topics relating to his work as a writer with The Danger Ensemble and Vanguard Youth Theatre. Be quick and book or miss out!
COST: $50 (Full) $20 (Concession) or $10 for patrons who have already purchased a ticket for Children of War (14 Nov – 1 Dec)
LOCATION: Theatre Rehearsal Room, Judith Wright Centre Level 3 
DATE/TIME: Tuesday, 27th November from 4pm – 6pm
23
Jul
12

Brisbane Arts Theatre Drama Festival Results

Well, that was a big weekend! I adjudicated the Brisbane Arts Theatre’s 24th Annual Drama Festival. You will see the results below and, when I have a moment and I’ve posted last week’s reviews for my intrepid reviewers, Meredith and Michelle, I’ll post my comments, which I talked through before presenting the awards last night. Apparently this is slightly unusual? I thought it was important to provide some specific feedback for each group and, as a performer myself, I know the value of contextualising the feedback another company receives. We all slip into the same bad habits sometimes and it’s a great reminder – especially when everybody has enjoyed all of the plays – to talk through each production. Companies will, of course, also receive electronic copies of the comments that apply specifically to their production. I saw lots of nodding heads and smiling faces as I was going through my notes but even so, I reminded the players that my opinion is only one opinion and, as we well know, I have my critics too!

I’m super impressed with the overall standard at this year’s Brisbane Arts Theatre Drama Festival and I look forward to the next opportunity that I have to see so much theatre in the one place, over just one weekend (17th – 19th August at Buderim Memorial Hall), at the Sunshine Coast Theatre Festival. If you’re up for it, come for the weekend (a Festival Pass will set you back just $35). If you’re around for the following Saturday (25th August at Lind Lane Theatre) come and support our Youth Theatre Festival. Keep an eye out soon for our upcoming TVC on local Channel 7.

We’re absolutely delighted to welcome our Sunshine Coast adjudicator for this year, Kate Foy.

There are other festivals happening in the meantime (Beenleigh? Sandgate?). Check out the Facebook group (thank you, John McMahon, for your kind words over there!), or the host theatre company websites for details.

Congratulations to everybody involved in the wonderful productions at Brisbane Arts! Next up for Brisbane Arts Theatre is an improvised show, created by one of our winners, Natalie Bochenski and Impro MafiaCritical Hit, an off-the-cuff fantasy comedy, in which the audience makes up the rules!

To the team at Brisbane Arts Theatre, congratulations on a successful, enjoyable festival and thanks again for having me!

P.S. Girls, I wore leggings and a drape top from blackmilkclothing.com and my amazing array of teas included Coconut Chai, Rose with French Vanilla and Italian Almond!

Youth Awards:

Best Actor
Daniel Taylor (Gossip)

Best Supporting Actor
Myles van Ryan (Mack in Gossip)

Best Actress
Aleisha Deryk (Jill in Humpty)

Best Supporting Actress
Tegan MacDonald (Mary Mary & Old Mother Hubbard in Humpty)

BestDirector
Amy Ingram and Natalie Trust (Gossip)

Best Play
Gossip

Second best play
Whatever Happened to Humpty

Third best play
The Pirate Game

Best Backstage Conduct

Fractal Theatre Company (The Pirate Game)

Adjudicator’s Awards
1. Dominic Stevenson (Captain Blackheart in The Pirate Game)
2. Kai Stevenson (Short John in The Pirate Game)
3. Archie Horneman-Wren (the Guard in The Pirate Game)
4. Finn Riodan (Old King Cole in Whatever happened to Humpty?)
5. Isobel Rose (Phoebe in Gossip)

YouthLeadershipAward
Fractal Theatre Company

 

Open Awards

Best Actor – Drama
Ben Dyson (Who the Fuck is Erica Price)

Best Actor – Comedy
Reagan Warner (Level 12)

Best Supporting Actor
Mark Lucas

Best Actress – Drama
Susan O’Toole

Best Actress – Comedy
Anna McMahon

Best Supporting Actress
Kate Cullen

Best Director
Shirley Lucas

Best Play
Narcissistica

Second Best Play
Who the Fuck is Erica Price?

Third Best Play
Downsize

Best Australian Script
Who the Fuck is Erica Price?

by Sarah Brill

Most Creative Set Design
Level 12

Best Backstage Conduct

Golden Glove Productions (Level 12)

Adjudicator’s Awards
1. Elodie Boal (Writer, Performer: Crush)
2. Sarah McMahon (Writer, Performer: I’m a Pisces, He’s an Asshole)
3. Karen Peart (Performer: All For the Nation)
4. Alison Kerr (Dir: Who the Fuck is Erica Price?)
5. Natalie Bochenski (Writer, Director & Performer: Downsize)

Special mentions to:

Kirsty, Shirley and Michelle (Narcissistica)

David Breen (Freedom)

Sue Sewell (Still Life)

Downstage Theatre Company (Cut!)

 

Level 12 Golden Glove Productions

Congratulations to the cast and crew of Level 12 which performed at Brisbane Arts this weekend. Reagan Warner won Best Actor in a Comedy and the team won Best Backstage Conduct- nice work Reagan and team! And a very special award went to Nick Beck for his set creation of the elevator in Level 12, winning Most Creative Set Design! We asked Nick if he could design an elevator frame that could beset up in 10min., striked in 5min., fit onto 9 different stages and be collapsable enough to be packed into a Toyota Yaris. We asked, and he created! Well done Nick! Nick and Bronte Salmond also added some extra supports to the set this year to make it even more safe and sturdy than it already was. Thank you for your creativity, generosity and design work. And just to make this award even more special, this is the Jo Peirce Memorial Shield, our beloved friend and mentor who we are sure was watching us from her seat all weekend. We said the show was for you Jo xx 

– Kate Beck Golden Glove Productions

 

06
Mar
12

Romeo & Juliet: Rocket Boy Ensemble

Reviewer: FAIL. This is a review that has been lost in my macbook since February but now, finally, here it is! Apologies to Rocket Boy Ensemble. Looking forward to seeing more of your work, guys. Thanks again for the coffee, cupcake and kindness. Your FOH family are the sweetest around. x

Romeo and Juliet 

Rocket Boy Ensemble

Buderim Uniting Church Hall 

10.02.12 – 12.02.12 

 

 

The idea was a crazy one, a group of misfits getting together and putting on a show. We all had experience but had never been let loose without a responsible adult present. Anything could happen! It was a little bit scary but in a good way. There were a few bumps and tears along the way but all in all I have to say this was a life changing experience, in which I (and I know the rest of the team) learnt so much, not just from the experience, but from each other.

Danielle Carney, Director.

 

 

Rocket Boy Ensemble presents ROMEO AND JULIET from Benjamin Kerwin on Vimeo.

 

 

Rocket Boy Ensemble has landed on the Sunshine Coast! A brand new, self-made company of young and ambitious performers, they are all about to take off to uni in various cities. With any luck, their fearless leader, Producer and Director, Danielle Carney, has something else up her sleeve and will entice them home again so that we may enjoy a second brave production soon. Their debut is impressive. It’s Romeo and Juliet on a (self-confessed) check out chick’s budget, which honours the text and brings a fresh set of youthful eyes to the story of sparring families and star-crossed lovers.

In a small church hall, in which the last show I attended, some years ago, was a nativity play, on a Sunday night after a big weekend, I sit for 15 minutes before the show starts, in front of three actors: Ryan Forbes (Romeo), Robert Steel (Balthazar) and Lizzie Mahoney (Juliet). It was certainly a longer wait for the actors than for me (and it was almost too long, lessoning the impact, though giving me time to take in the simple set, dressed in detail by Designer, Vanessa Fernandez; one corner for the Montagues and the other, for Juliet, a Capulet). In typical secondary school ritualistic style, the company attend and share the Prologue (and later, the Epilogue), holding artificial tea light candles and brokering that special deal with their audience: we are actors playing parts and we are going to tell you a story. And it works. This device also worked well to end the piece, leaving the audience in their affected state, wrapping up the tragic story without breaking the spell.

As Juliet, Mahoney is suitably wide-eyed and innocent, in good voice and in love with her Romeo, however; each famous monologue is carelessly rushed and I feel this is more an indication of Mahoney’s inexperience and lack of confidence during those times on stage when there is nobody else to work off, rather than any lack of skill. She has sufficient skill, a great deal of natural ability and a strong stage presence. Mahoney is sure to work with some strong directors, tutors and/or coaches on interpretation, breathing and delivery in the future. She seems, just in those moments by herself in the space, to lack the confidence she exudes in other scenes.

Her Romeo, Ryan Forbes, is gentle and unassuming; he’s a scholar and an indie gentleman. He seems a quietly confident actor and is well matched with Mahoney. Forbes is well supported by Steel as Balthazar, Tom Jermyn as Benvolio and Caitlyn Elliot as Mercutio. It’s interesting transgender casting and it works, but only because Elliot is up to the task, giving us a Mercutio with more bad-ass-goth-rock-chick attitude than a black leather-clad Pink. The unspoken attraction she has for Romeo does not go unnoticed and adds an additional, intriguing, layer to the banter between them. Elliot also gives us her best Lady Capulet but struggles to assume “older” and “mother” (to be fair, just as some young mothers do). Although she is as risqué as I expect any Lady Capulet to be, with her slightly oriental sexy vibe, she doesn’t quite have the maturity – or perhaps, in this case too, the confidence – to pull it off. The mother-daughter relationship is a tough one to nail with both actors being so young and we lose a little bit of lovely depth there. In contrast, in all his strident youth, Joseph Lai is an imposing and abrupt Lord Capulet. Again, it’s such young casting for a man whose “dancing days” have long since past (as a director, you use what you’ve got or you choose a different show) but with his tall stature and a depth of voice that grants immediate seniority, Lai is convincing enough. The audience visibly shudders when he throws Juliet to the floor and turns his back on her. I hope Lai will attend open auditions for our professional companies this year. The voice alone is going to be of pretty immediate value to one of them.

Interesting casting also, is Ellen Parker as Nurse; not the elder, wiser, nurturing mother figure we have come to know typically as Nurse but a young, flippant, BFF hippie chick! Parker’s energy and vibrancy gives this relationship a new, fresh boost of sisterly sorta love but of course, if we are paying attention to the text, the lines don’t always add up. It’s forgivable because somehow, all the pieces have already fit together and the picture is very clear.

Alex Wickett is the hate-driven Tybalt and holds his own in a number of challenging scenes. We see a glimpse of Wickett’s versatility when he returns as the Friar. Props must go to Fight Choreographer, Joseph del Vecchio, who should certainly pursue the craft if it is his preferred line of work as we are always in desperate need of edgy fight choreography in this country! Perhaps it is, indeed his line of work (I’ve not heard the name before), in which case I will beg his pardon for writing of him as if he is another student. In such an intimate space, the fight scenes (and the final scene) leave indelible impressions upon us.

For a high school graduate/uni student produced piece, Carney’s Romeo and Juliet shows us that the youth on the Sunshine Coast are just as talented as we thought…and also, that some of them are willing to lay everything on the line and work even harder than we ever realised they might. Rocket Boy Ensemble’s work is indicative of the type of theatre we would like to see regularly on the coast and locals will need to continue to support it so it can happen more often (and over a longer season). Keep an eye out for Rocket Boy’s return. Being suitably impressed, we’ll certainly keep you up to date with any future endeavours here.

 

 

19
Dec
11

Introductory Directors’ Workshop

After a massive week hosting Todd Schroeder’s Master Classes in Brisbane (Theatre and Dance) and on the Sunshine Coast (Studio 2), on Sunday at Lind Lane Theatre, Sam ran a low-key Introductory Directors’ Workshop. The workshop was well attended and at just $10 per adult it must have been the bargain of the year! These are some notes from the day (and they are certainly not exhaustive but are clear indicators of Sam’s particular style and his approach to directing). As Director, Actor and President of the Sunshine Coast Theatre Alliance, Sam plans to offer another Introductory Directors’ Workshop and one or more advanced directing courses in 2012 so keep an eye out for details about registration.

Sam acknowledges that his approach to directing is his own.

 

A Great Director encourages

 

  • open minds
  • like minds
  • an ensemble approach
  • risk-taking
  • an ability to play well with others
  • fun
  • respect
  • an attitude of working hard without making it hard work
  • working towards a “win”

 

Auditions

 

  • look for the ensemble – a school of fish who can swim together
  • look for people you can work with… play with
  • make it fun
  • open up the sandbox
  • open up
  • let go
  • what could it be?
  • trust – not only the cast who the director can trust but the cast who can trust the director
  • take a simple level of direction eg “everybody up on stage, thanks” … “why?”
  • get to know them
  • watch and listen
  • if a 70 year old doesn’t turn up who do you cast. don’t cast anybody. don’t do the play. (GREAT reaction – silence – something new?)

 

Pre-Casting

 

  • there is no wrong way to get the right cast for your play
  • no open pre-casting eg Mark Darin in Influence
  • a director has the choice. it’s the director’s call.

 

Creative Team

 

  • cast your creative team wisely eg Erotique
  • confer with the writer, composer etc and make the same decision – are they people (is it a play) you want to work with?
  • in a musical, of course the MD must be involved in decision-making but the director has the final say.
  • Communicate clearly and early with your creative team
  • respect for the people you’re working with and set the boundaries
  • set clear ground rules
  • get the vibe right and make a sacrifice if necessary eg La Ronde

 

Planning

 

Schedule

 

  • Plan from opening night backwards (like an ECG, draw a graph of the shape of the rehearsal period)
  • feel the heartbeat. know where it is and how quickly it beats.
  • safer show comes from good breathing time
  • break for the night before opening night
  • planning will inform the energy of the piece (the highs and lows)
  • schedule the conversations and the first time you deal with tricky things eg nakedness in La Ronde, Erotique…

 

it’s not the ensemble and you but rather, you are  a part of the ensemble

 

respect

 

give your cast and creative team a level of freedom with which you’re comfortable. and then make sure they’re doing everything the way you want it.

 

Vision:

  • read scripts
  • see theatre
  • own style, own process
  • start somewhere.
  • visualisation (tell the story in your head) “painting an idea”
  • communicate your vision

 

Re-invigorate rehearsals by doing (or asking for) the unexpected

 

Every director has a different interpretation. let the seeds sow themselves.

 

if you run out of steam don’t force it. it’s not gonna happen.

 

“I will one day direct Pinter” is different to “I will one day direct Pinter’s Betrayal

 

Find the idea, seed the idea and find a way to make it work.

 

Don’t act and direct in the same play

 

The measure of a good play?

  • is it engaging?
  • are the characters believable?
  • whose opinion matters?
  • artistically satisfying that sells tickets

 

Simon Denver says get them laughing before the curtain goes up.

 

organic process between audience and performer

 

How do you get feedback?

 

Sometimes conflict is necessary.

 

Sometimes it’s better to let it go. stop rousing and let them go for a coffee.

 

respect.

 

find a different way of communicating

 

people respond differently to different approaches. read people and work out what works. directing is largely about reading people and managing people.

 

performers are vulnerable so set high standards at rehearsal. eg quiet in the space

 

don’t keep people at rehearsal if you’re not using them. eg call them for the hour for which they are required. respect.

 

ABOUT SAM COWARD

 

As a producer, director or performer, Sam Coward has worked for the past fifteen years in the business. On both stage and screen, Sam has experienced all facets of stage production and has worked in more than a dozen Queensland venues.

In 1999 Sam produced a modern interpretation of the Andrew Lloyd Webber classic, Jesus Christ Superstar, in a Warehouse in Warana, which at the time broke all records for attendance at a Sunshine Coast production.

Shout! The Legend of the Wild One in 2008, clearly marked Sam as a director with the potential to produce exciting creative works. In close collaboration with The Events Centre, Caloundra, Sam re-cast, re-structured and re-directed this successful major musical production in just 8 weeks. In 2010, Sam co-produced and directed his original take on Arthur Schnitzler’s La Ronde and re-developed it further, as Erotique, for inclusion in the Sydney Fringe Festival. Sam is about to venture into the third creative development phase for Erotique, in preparation for its 2012 season. In 2011 Sam directed David Williamson’s Influence and conceptualised an original play So? Where Is It? written by Simon Denver, which has been seen this year at the Sunshine Coast Drama Festival and at the Queensland Short + Sweet Festival, where it won the overall Short + Sweet Award for Best Play. So? Where Is It? will be seen next in Sydney in 2012.

Sam is the President of the Sunshine Coast Theatre Alliance, which is “Raising Standards” and Co-Director of XS Entertainment, which aims to establish a functional network of Sunshine Coast artists and produce original theatrical productions in unconventional spaces, utilising new media and local resources.

 

BOOK NOW for The Sunshine Coast Theatre Alliance’s 2012 SEASON LAUNCH SOIREE

 All theatre lovers are encouraged to come along and enjoy this social evening celebrating local theatre, rubbing shoulders with local thespians and the likes of our special guest, playwright and Senior Australian of the Year 2012, DAVID WILLIAMSON. Enjoy a complimentary drink on arrival, and delicious canapes throughout the evening.

Each theatre group will have approx 5 minutes to perform/present snippets of their 2012 productions to the Media and theatre lovers.

The evening will be hosted by Channel Sevens Rosanna Natoli.

Tickets: $35 EARLY BIRD TICKET PRICE:  $30 per person.

MUST BOOK BEFORE 30th DECEMBER!

When: Saturday 11th February 2012

Where:  On the deck, at the Buderim Tavern.

Dress: to Impress! (a prize for the most impressive)

Bookings (07) 5449 9343 or online 

 

 

23
Nov
11

Introductory Directing Workshop with Sam Coward

XS Entertainment, The Sunshine Coast Theatre Alliance and Lind Lane Theatre Present:

An Introductory Director’s Workshop
with Prominent Sunshine Coast Theatre Director Sam Coward

Sam Coward, Director and Actor

Have you ever wanted to direct a show?

Have you ever wondered what makes this director tick?

Would you like to talk with other Sunshine Coast directors in a relaxed, friendly environment about your upcoming projects, dreams, frustrations and challenges?

Would you like to hear the basics from somebody who has a successful track record and invites fellow directors of all ages, experience and backgrounds to “have a go”?

Do you want to know about upcoming directing opportunities on the Sunshine Coast?

Work with one of the Sunshine Coast’s most prominent theatre directors on what it takes to conceive, create and stage a theatrical production.

– choosing or devising a theatrical work
– selecting a cast
– securing a venue
– sharing the vision
– creative development phases and flexibility
– rehearsal processes and expectations
– communicating with your cast and creative team
– attracting attention and getting the publicity machine working

+ Sunshine Coast Theatre Alliance benefits and Sunshine Coast Performing Arts Industry Insider Tips, support and more!

When: Sunday December 18th 10am – 4pm

Where: Lind Lane Theatre 16 Mitchell st, Nambour

Cost: $10 (morning tea provided)

To secure your place in the workshop, email

xsentertainme@gmail.com or call 0411 015 918

As a producer, director or performer, Sam Coward has worked for the past fifteen years in the business. On both stage and screen, Sam has experienced all facets of stage production and has worked in more than a dozen Queensland venues.

In 1999 Sam produced a modern interpretation of the Andrew Lloyd Webber classic, Jesus Christ Superstar, in a Warehouse in Warana, which at the time broke all records for attendance at a Sunshine Coast production.

Shout! The Legend of the Wild One in 2008, clearly marked Sam as a director with the potential to produce exciting creative works. In close collaboration with The Events Centre, Caloundra, Sam re-cast, re-structured and re-directed this successful major musical production in just 8 weeks. In 2010, Sam co-produced and directed his original take on Arthur Schnitzler’s La Ronde and re-developed it further, as Erotique, for inclusion in the Sydney Fringe Festival. Sam is about to venture into the third creative development phase for Erotique, in preparation for its 2012 season. In 2011 Sam directed David Williamson’s Influence and conceptualised an original play So? Where Is It? written by Simon Denver, which has been seen this year at the Sunshine Coast Drama Festival and at the Queensland Short + Sweet Festival, where it won the overall Short + sweet Award for Best Play. So? Where Is It? will be seen next in Sydney in 2012.

Sam is the President of the Sunshine Coast Theatre Alliance, which is “Raising Standards” and Co-Director of XS Entertainment, which aims to establish a functional network of Sunshine Coast artists and produce original theatrical productions in unconventional spaces, utilising new media and local resources.