Posts Tagged ‘strange attractor

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

 

 

 

28
Jan
13

Strange Attractor

Strange Attractor

Noosa Arts Theatre & SRT

Noosa Arts Theatre

24th January – 2nd February 2013

 

Reviewed by Xanthe Coward

 

Unmoving figures – six silhouettes in hard hats – beautifully backlit in red, eliciting thoughts of Empty Chairs at Empty Tables, appear behind a white backdrop out of the darkness of an almost bare stage. It’s already a tragic picture and I’ve come into this production cold. I’ve stayed away from rehearsals and other than the synopsis; I’ve not read a thing about Sue Smith’s Strange Attractor. You would think I might have heard updates or insights from Sam from time to time. You would be wrong. We are ships in the night when working on different productions.

 

A basic bar, a fridge, a punching bag and a few tables and chairs set the scene for what must be one of the most important newer Australian plays, about an unexpected death that rocks an outback rail construction camp.

 

It’s a pity that Strange Attractor runs for such a short season (and that the Sunday matinee was cancelled due to the storm), because so many will miss out on this moving drama. It’s not often Sunshine Coast audiences get the opportunity to experience something that falls outside of the farce or musical theatre genres and this is probably the best of its ilk you’ll see this year. (I guess we’ll see what else is in store at the Sunshine Coast Theatre Alliance Soiree in Mudjimba on February 9thhave you booked yet?). It’s a strong ensemble with powerful performances from some of the Sunshine Coast’s best actors; its strength is as much in its silence as in any of its conversation.

 

Moments of unease are relished; the characters wait between lines, without slowing the pace of the play, masterfully stretching the uncomfortable silence into the undeniable reality of the nightmare that follows a tragedy, breathing, waiting, considering, and content to disperse further unease with a look, before moving on. This takes a certain degree of discipline and experience and while the impressive results don’t surprise me, I’m once again bemused to see that the SRT Way just works. I’ll leave that for Sam and Simon to explain in another post. Suffice to say, the casting, by Simon Denver, is superb.

 

A beautiful, sophisticated soundscape by Howard Tampling layers haunting arrangements for piano (Darren Heskes) and guitar (James Allen) of classic Australian songs, the sounds of the storm, and weather updates during the Category 4 cyclone, which wreaks havoc on the camp and contributes to the mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of popular safety officer, Gus (Sam Coward). It’s nice to see Brad Thomson back treading the boards after a too-long hiatus, and reunited with Job’s Right boys, Sam Coward and Brett Klease. Joined by Clayton Storey as Rube, David Breen as Chilli, and Jodi Bushby, the token female in camp, known semi-affectionately as Truckie, this lot come with language that may offend (though not as much as I’d expected!), and a moving story that they tell with care and a sense of responsibility.

 

Unexpectedly funny, you’ll find it’s extremely real – the people represented are tragedy-raw and hurting, and yet their Australian larrikinism comes through in crass jokes and deft humour for which your grandma would rap you over the knuckles but which you know is your only coping mechanism – and you’ll recognise that and enjoy the challenging repartee more than you think you could. But it’s a cautionary tale, almost a warning… I wonder if Sue Smith intended it that way. It seems this director did. But while there’s treasure to be found under their feet, no disruption is reason enough for the likes of these characters to call it quits, give up the gold and go home.

 
STRA poster-1

Whether our sensibilities want to accept it or not – we are officially into the Chinese Century! This country once rode on the back of the sheep – we are now the quarry of the world. The reality of this is quite simple…the vast oblivious suburban mass of Australia live on the fiscal crumbs from the mining table!

 

Hard truth – sad fact.

– Director, Simon Denver

 

10
Jan
13

Strange Attractor coming soon to Noosa

Strange Attractor
‘WHEN the next generation research how theatre represented the state of the Australian nation in the early part of the 21st century, this new play by Sue Smith will be the flagship text they’ll turn to.’
Nicholas Pickard, Sydney Morning Herald, 2009
 
From Sue Smith, the writer of Bastard Boys and Brides of Christ, comes Strange Attractor, a gripping, contemporary tale of free-will and responsibility in the face of great temptation.
 
It opens at Noosa Arts Theatre on 24 January for a strictly limited two week season.
 
With explosive characters and a witty sense of humour, Strange Attractor is a stunning portrait of small-team camaraderie at the furthest frontier of the mining boom.
 
 
Deep in Western Australia’s mining country, against the blood-red landscape of the Pilbara, a cyclone has wreaked havoc in a remote railway construction camp.
 
Now, a small team of employees anxiously await the arrival of ‘the company man’, sent up from Perth to carry out his own investigation before a coronial inquiry. Dog-tired and in search of drink, they do their best to distract themselves, coming together in a makeshift mess hall. But a stormy evening of shared memories soon takes a strange and unexpected turn.
 
Strange Attractor is a beautiful play. It won’t shock and won’t challenge but it will enthral you. It’s sad and it’s guilty, but the bleakness is brought to life very well and this attractor makes for great theatre!’
Adam Moussa, musicfeeds.com.au, 2009
 
Simon Denver is directing this joint production of Suncoast Repertory Theatre and Noosa Arts Theatre.
Simon is well known as an outstanding director and has chosen a very strong cast in Jodie Bushby, David Breen, Sam Coward, Brett Klease, Brad Thomson and Clayton Storey.
 
This play is not suitable for children under 18.
 
Performances:
Preview: January 24 at 7.30pm
Evenings: January 25, 26, 30, 31, February 1, 2 at 7.30pm. Matinee: January 27 at 2pm.
Strange Attractor