Posts Tagged ‘Dressing


The Sydney Fringe: In 18 Sleeps!

Only 18 sleeps before our Sydney debut?!
Thank goodness I visited The Brazilian Hut yesterday! These latest wardrobe issues are all a matter of impeccable timing. And maintenance. That’s right. The Sydney audiences are going to see a whole lot more than Sunshine Coast audiences did!
Wait. What’s that? We are doing a one night only for them?
Sunshine Coast peeps, you have two opportunities to see us take everything off before we all take off to The Sydney Fringe Festival!
Preview the sensual (and dare I say, a little more disturbing than you thought) Erotique on Friday September 10th or Saturday September 11th at the il secondo & M1 Function Rooms, Maroochydore.
Tony Kelly and Whitehouse Celebrations have joined forces with XS Entertainment to offer the Sunshine Coast locals (and dedicated Brisbane fans and friends) a sophisticated night out, combining a superb location and great food and wine with dark and delicious new theatre…but numbers are strictly limited. You will need to book soon. We will need to give you the details sooner…
I think it has to be said, that out of the entire cast, I expected me to be the least concerned about baring my body on stage. Not so. But you know what? It’s my winter body! I mean, c’mon! A tan would really help me out here. Without giving too much away, can I not be terminal with a TAN?! I’m much more comfortable in my tanned, summer skin…no? Oh. Ok. So, how much more confronting must this approach to the final scene be for Ben, who did not have the luxury of getting up to any mischief during the original La Ronde and is certainly less accustomed than I, to wearing risqué or revealing costumes…not to mention none at all…although this is probably a moot point when it comes to some of the cast parties he…we have attended. A-hem. Also, he has been given a character description devoid of the term, “tanned”! Do feel welcome to comment if you’d like to see a guest post from The Boy, Ben Johnson!
We have certainly raised the stakes.
See for yourself. Soon, real soon

XS Entertainment


So we did the Cindy Mackenzie Breast Cancer Foundation Gala Ball – A Night in Monte Carlo! A fancy affair, recognised as the biggest ticket event each year on the Sunshine Coast, in honour of Cindy Mackenzie’s memory and held as the major fund raiser for the year so that the foundation may continue to provide support for those families on the Sunshine Coast who have been affected by breast cancer. The Gala always attracts the major sponsors and boasts fine attendance for a great cause so we were proud to be associated. And after donating $1 000 from La Ronde (Mooloolaba) ticket sales, we felt it was just as important to give of our time…and our booty!

The biggest challenge? The freezing conditions, in our cute little Lycra costumes and in a state of rapidly depleting health, it was looking to me like a long night ahead. We met at the Hyatt Regency Coolum for a 6pm call and all I wanted to know was, “When do I have to turn it on?!”

A punter strolling by, on the way back to his room (and clearly not attending the Gala or else he would have been dressed already) asked us how much we were getting for such a crazy stunt and when we told him it was a charity gig he laughed and laughed. Sadly, for the charities, we won’t be able to offer our talent and services gratis for much longer. In future, some of the things we do will be at a reduced rate for charity events (after all, everybody has a budget). The whole point of building this little company is to raise expectations on the Sunshine Coast and have the talent appropriately paid. As we’ve so often said, everybody else gets paid; why not the actors? Sadly though, for the punters like him, some people will never get it. Some things you just do.

And what we did was…

Pose with the car maserati

Pose with the car maserati and the other talent (who were warm in their tails)…

and pose with the guests and organisers.

Can you see how sick I am in these pics? No. That’s right. A consummate professional.

I thank you.

We also posed for more photos by the stage, by the media wall and inside le grand pavilion.

We also accompanied the notable TV and radio personalities as they worked the room and talked more than they actually worked, meaning we had a whole heap of raffle-ticket-gambling-chips to sell to the guests! And they bought them! It’s a fund raiser, after all; everybody was very generous, as you would expect from such a crowd and it had nothing to do with our persuasiveness. Though, we were…persuasive.

And we were…freezing. By the time we started actually visibly shivering (I think the guests were getting cold just looking at us), we knew we’d sold enough raffle ticket chips for one chilly gala fund raising night! I believe Min and the boys sold the rest before the party really started!

As for me, I had to rest, before the next day’s event in Eumundi, where I would be standing in the cold air all day, wearing even less at The Australian Bodyart Carnivale.


The Mechanics of Undressing – Part 2

By Sharon Grimley

So, to date I have undressed publicly at least 12 times (excluding rehearsals, over the past 2 months).  I still have at least another 2 performances to go before our first season is complete – I say this in hope of a second season materialising – and I, and the Socialite, am surprisingly comfortable disrobing for an audience.  Sure, there is still the frisson of excitement when I remember that my audience don’t expect this, as I remove my peignoir and camisole, but any reservations about appearances have melted away.  I am just doing my job.

However, it struck me over the last few weeks that other people’s reactions to my doing-what-I-am-doing, in the name of theatre, are widely varied.  And this puts me in mind of a memorable question from an authority from my past, Professor Julius Sumner Miller:

“Why is it so?”

What is it about a body?

We all have one.

Most people are equipped with one of two variations on the bits attached to them.

So what makes people fearful of it?  OR more particularly, fearful of seeing someone else’s?



The reactions I have encountered are as follows:

Ignore – “If I don’t mention it, it isn’t happening.” – a response common to conservative friends and parents-in-law

Awe – Being a “woman of a certain age”  …I rather like this one!

Curiosity – “What does she look like?” “Does she look like me?”  “Does she look like I imagined?”  “ Is she going to take it…..oo, yes, I think she’s… oh my god, she’s really going to take it off!”

Fascination – “I expected to be confronted, but found myself mesmerised instead.”

Disgust – OK, I made this one up.  Not to date anyway (or to my knowledge, anyway).

Seeing another person’s body is not something we are culturally equipped for.

At the beach or in television shows or in magazines or in billboard ads (OK, everywhere), we seem to deal with various degrees of undress, but seeing another REAL human naked RIGHT UP CLOSE is something often associated with private and intimate relationships.

Isn’t it right then that, in a play dealing with sexual relationships, some degree of nudity would be appropriate and genuine and integral?

Oohhhh…. it’s the SEXUAL relationships they don’t want put under scrutiny, yes?  And the icky, uncomfortable, basic, not-for-public-consumption feelings they get when they see someone else undress…

Or worse still, that they might never be able to look me in the eye again.

The Maid and The Socialite

After a sell-out season in Noosa, the Mooloolaba season of La Ronde is SOLD OUT


The Maid and The Socialite

Imagine the power if it were yours to play at.

What would you say? What would you do?

What would you command of others?

Every fantasy at a nod, a smile, a gesture; as gentle or as gratuitous as you like. An insatiable appetite.

You with the power. She with the will to satisfy.

La Ronde

Noosa Arts Theatre, Noosaville:

March 25th, March 26th, 27th and April 1st, 2nd, 3rd at 7:30pm

Sunday March 28th at 2pm

(07) 5449 9343 or

Cafe e1 (Europe on 1st), Mooloolaba:

April 9th , April 10th, April 16th and April 17th

Cafe Europe on 1st, First Ave, Mooloolaba (07) 5477 6288

– champagne, supper and show for just $60-
$5 from every ticket sold at Mooloolaba goes to the Cindy McKenzie Breast Cancer Foundation. Thank you for helping us to support the wonderful work they do.


La Ronde

The Maid and The Socialite

The unspoken. The unspeakable. The impermissible.

Tempt fate and try to put the little pieces of your fantasy together.

Try to create your destiny…at the same place, at the same time…every day, as she kills you silently with a smile…a look…a look away…and you continue to foolishly lavish the same attention, regardless of the return.

La Ronde

Noosa Arts Theatre, Noosaville:

March 25th, March 26th, 27th and April 1st, 2nd, 3rd at 7:30pm

Sunday March 28th at 2pm

(07) 5449 9343 or

Cafe e1 (Europe on 1st), Mooloolaba:

April 9th , April 10th, April 16th and April 17th

Cafe Europe on 1st, First Ave, Mooloolaba (07) 5477 6288

– champagne, supper and show for just $60-
$5 from every ticket sold at Mooloolaba goes to the Cindy McKenzie Breast Cancer Foundation. Thank you for helping us to support the wonderful work they do.


Directing La Ronde

I thought it was time for a proper little chat with the Director, Sam Coward. He wasn’t hard to find. He was watching SYTYCD in the next room.

We have coffee. It’s all good. GO!

So. Sam. Why La Ronde?

Sam: I felt it was time to challenge audiences and actors. First and foremost a performer, I’ve recently become frustrated…disenchanted with what performing is all about. I have seen too many 2-dimensional characters on Sunshine Coast stages. I wanted to give those performers the chance to stretch their legs.

Is La Ronde doing that?

Yes. The plan to stretch audiences and actors is working, well; it’s clearly working for the actors at this stage anyway. We will see about audiences.

Performers have suddenly found themselves immersed in a process of self-discovery and have had to really trust in their director from Day 1. These particular aspects of acting may be new to some Sunshine Coast performers!  Their vulnerabilities are in my hands. They may not have been asked to take such enormous risks before now. La Ronde presents very different challenges for different performers. We have characters who are driven by the words they utter and characters without any dialogue at all. And by introducing nudity, the actors have all had to step out of their comfort zones, bare some flesh and feel completely comfortable with that pretty quickly. Some more quickly than others. I have cast bold performers who each have their own style and approach to acting…and I’ve challenged them on those things. I’ll give you an example. Without giving too much away, Nathan (The Poet) is being stretched as a performer. He is working hard to feel comfortable with his nakedness and with his pretty hot encounter with Kay (The Girl)…this on top of learning lines and determining objectives. More so than getting those mechanics of the character’s actions happening, it’s mostly the mental, emotional process as an actor; coming to terms with such confronting, challenging demands. He is seeing some great results come from a creative process that is entirely new to him.

As Director, how do you feel about your approach to this workshop-style process?

I was well-prepared and I prepared well, those who I knew would be involved. There were a few initial discussions about why we’re doing La Ronde. My reasons, explanations and justifications about the direction and the vision allowed the actors to accept what I was trying to do. And then, after a bit of talking, they had to just jump in and get the clothes off and feel that first shock/slap of embarrassment and get on with the job.

As Director, how have you  helped support/guide the actors getting past that initial point of fear?

Some actors needed to remove some layers sooner and some have waited for me to tell them, “Ok, now let’s get the gear off!” As a director, I was a bit green in terms of shaping the sex scenes and initially, for two of the girls, I turned the lights down and lit some candles and let them listen to the mood music…and it backfired because it set a really romantic mood and the girls started feeling really uncomfortable and wondering what I wanted to see and they started really fondling each other and then got really weirded out! So then we put the ugly lights back on and debriefed and choreographed the entire scene. It was the third party directing their sequence of steps, relinquishing them of all personal responsibility. Sometimes we forget that the actors are vulnerable and they are real people. In this case, the sequence became their safety net.

What about your original vision for the show? Is it being realised? If so, what is it that is helping to bring it to fruition?

The vision is being realised, with enhancements. The original plan was to workshop a textually out-dated, thematically and contextually current play with competent practitioners who had the ability to work in this particular way. People are happy to be working with a director who has had a clear vision from the outset and has some idea about how to manifest it.

With everybody onboard, the actors were able to adopt what I wanted, in terms of mood and relationships and find new ways to improve/develop their scenes. Each scene has the potential to be spectacular. Remember, each actor only has two scenes so, as actors, each has the opportunity to really shine in this show. The actors have all taken on board the direction (and the overall vision) and extended themselves beyond it. We’ve truly seen that. Some more than others. Some performers have been happy to let me lead. Some have been more forthright about their opinions on things. Let’s use Kay and Nathan for another example. Kay and Nathan were originally directed to play their scene in a soppy, romantic way and then it ended with a blow job. My bad…Kay suggested that if they were in love and a romantic mood had already been established, it would involve more than just a blow job. She felt comfortable to discuss this and consequently the result is far superior. This has been an integral part of the process; the negotiation and give and take between actors and director.

Tell us a little more about the rehearsal process.

There were always some intentional applications in terms of process, however; some things have been stumbled upon quite by accident. For example, by not giving Tim (The Judge) a complete script until this week, we’ve taken his focus away from the text. He was a script-driven actor and wanted the text committed to memory prior to the rehearsal period. He spoke to me about it. I didn’t want to see that kind of judge. The potential for any actor who works purely from a script is that the text is used as a crutch and the character is created from the page alone, rather than making it an internal process and letting us see a bit more of the actor himself. The workshop atmosphere of rehearsals to this point has allowed the actors a greater degree of freedom: time and space to play, which is often not afforded (or entrusted) to them.

You obviously have a great deal of faith in your cast. In the context of working with Sunshine Coast actors, what have you discovered during the process so far?

The audition was impressive (I only wanted one, no call-backs, it was quite an intuitive thing), in terms of the discovery of a broad cross-section of people all willing to go on the same journey. I’m very matter of fact about it. The coast has always had these people, this talent, here, in little pockets; they come out of the woodwork whenever there’s something interesting happening and it shouldn’t ever be a huge surprise to see them. It’s not often that something more interesting happens and these performers get the chance to present themselves in a truly honest and open manner, ready for anything the director might have for them. And look, this may not be the best vehicle to showcase the extent of everyone’s talent anyway.

What I mean is, we weren’t aiming to please with this show. We’re not pandering to the performers or to the theatre going public here. We’re hoping to put on some different theatre, which will evoke responses about people’s own sexual activities and experiences. Everyone will be able to relate to someone in this show. It may not have been the type of entertainment they wanted to see this year (it’s not a toe-tapping, colourful musical) but not all theatre is nice. The comical, uplifting, light-hearted entertainment has a place – go see Avenue Q – but we’re telling extremely intimate stories here, we’re sharing secrets if you like, putting out some challenging messages and there are many layered, contrasting and complex emotions involved with that, without a song or even an interval to give you a break. It’s relentless. And that’s a very human thing. Sometimes there are just no stops.

So what does the director want out of all this?

I want acknowledgement…that you can do something that may not be publicly or socially loved and gushed about by the industry or by the public but that you can be respected, not only for being bold and taking risks but also for being able to pull off some high class entertainment. I want this to grow me as a director and enhance my reputation as a creative professional.

And what of the life span of La Ronde?

Who knows? I really don’t know. That’s for next time…over more, much more, coffee.

As a producer, director or performer, Sam has worked for the past fifteen years in the business. On both stage and screen, Sam has experienced all facets of production. In 1999, with appx $250,000.00 of self generated corporate and private funding, Sam staged in a warehouse in Warana, Lloyd Webber’s classic, Jesus Christ Superstar, which broke all records for attendance at a Sunshine Coast production.

Shout! The Legend of The Wild One, in 2008, marked Sam as a bold, inspired Director. In close collaboration with The Events Centre, Caloundra, Sam re-cast, re-structured and re-directed this major musical production in just 8 weeks, achieving a successful artistic outcome.

Sam is currently the Co-Director of XS Entertainment, which will establish a functional network of Sunshine Coast artists and produce film and theatrical productions, utilising new media and local resources.


The Mechanics of Undressing

by Sharon Grimley.

The Mechanics of Undressing.  Dressing.  Being dressed.

How strange it is to relinquish control, yet remain in control, and let another apply the layers of armour, and perhaps in doing so learning the chinks and vulnerabilities.  Trusting…drowning, not waving, since waving would give the audience something else to look at, distract them, and that is not the point.  “YOO-HOO!! Look over here, away from those breasts…”

And, being undressed – not the action, the state of being.  Not so difficult, since it is The Socialite who stands before the onlookers, but difficult all the same, in that Her physical flaws are my physical flaws.  She wouldn’t care.  I do.  Easy for Her; She doesn’t know anyone in the audience.

Ah, even if She did, She wouldn’t give a toss.

And in exposing the physical self and its distinctive markings (so much nicer than “flaws” I think), exposing all the markings on the psyche, the inner self.  Uncovering all the times I was not pretty/thin/sexy/feminine enough, and scratching open old scars thought long healed.  Ouch.

And once again, from the top…