EIGHT of the most popular plays from the first three years of Newcastle’s Micro Theatre Festival are being presented at this year’s event.
And, with the plays having different directors and actors, people who saw the original stagings are eagerly looking forward to seeing them again.
The 2018 season, Micro Theatre – The Director’s Cut, had three directors involved in the original stagings read all the plays and choose the ones they would most like to see again.
Four plays will be presented for six performances between June 14 and 23 at each of two intimate venues: The Press Bookhouse, at 462 Hunter Street, Newcastle, and Studio21 Artspace, 21 Bennett Street, Hamilton.
The Micro Theatre Festival founder and artistic director, Kate Dun, said the different nature of this year’s event arose from the need to switch the staging of the festival from August to June because the number of local shows presented in Newcastle in August made it difficult to get directors and actors for the large number of mainly original short works.
Given the need to invite writers and staging teams at least six months before the festival to submit proposed works, it had been decided to present new stagings of some of the most popular plays this year.
People will be able to submit proposed plays for 2019 from November 28.
The plays at the Press Bookhouse will include two monologues by writer Carl Caulfield and directed by Maurice Silver. Freefall, staged at the 2016 Microfest, has a young man, played by Anthony Howes, who doesn’t conform to people’s expectations of his behaviour, trying to work out what he needs to do. Grass, from 2017, has Brent Traines as someone concerned that he can understand, unlike other people, what is being said by a whispering grass.
The other Press Bookhouse plays are 2017’s Space Commander Versus the Mud Monsters, showing the impact a fan letter has on an ageing television star, and 2015’s The Wisdom of Solomon, in which one person’s wisdom isn’t good for others.
The Studio21 Artspace shows are: Do Not Touch (2017), a black comedy set in a police station, Wheeler Dealer (2015), a comedy that has a young brother and sister meeting for coffee, Special Places (2016), a comedy with four people recalling the secret locations they have found very special, and Worse Things Happen (2016), with a man meeting family members after having been imprisoned for 25 years for killing his wife.
The shows at both venues can be seen on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, at 7pm, from June 14 to 23. Tickets, $18, can be bought through stickytickets.com.au.
See microtheatre.com.au for more information.
ENGLISH playwright Charles Dyer’s comedy is an amusing send-up of murder mysteries set in isolated rural mansions, with more than one slaying occurring when relatives and servants of the deceased owner gather for the reading of his will – and his body disappearing from the coffin when an undertaker arrives to organise the funeral.
This ostensibly dark tale has the audience soon laughing at the words, actions and reactions of those who find themselves trapped in the house when a fierce storm floods its surrounds. Director Geoff McLauchlan and the cast bring out the humour of lines such as “he slipped up”, a joking reference to the slipper-wearing of an elegantly dressed man.
A stern-voiced and luxuriously black-garbed Ann-Maree Day makes Faith, the demanding stepdaughter of the dead man, an over-the-top heiress, and subsequently does the same for her self-centred twin sister, Hope. The servants in the house, who find themselves among their dead master’s heirs, also give brightness to stereotyped characters: Jen Masson’s defiant maid, Mabel, Natalie Burg’s repressed secretary, Anne, Antony Davies’s aggressive chauffeur, Ted, and Suellen Hall’s by-the-book cook, Agnes. The solicitors who come to read the will, Sandra Monk’s Lois Blundell and Maddie Richards as her niece, Hillary Mickleby, argue a lot but eventually find themselves acting as investigators. And two other visitors have peculiar mannerisms, the eccentric half-blind and deaf Dr Brown (David Murray) and the stern undertaker Mr Sorrell (John Franks), who intently tries to get the measurements of those who cough.
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