December 2017 Newsletter
CAST AND CREW OF ‘THE LARAMIE PROJECT’ AT THE RECENT VDL AWARDS
MICHAEL AND KATHRYN AT THE GEELONG OSCARS
‘When Dad Married Fury’ directed by Michael Baker for Torquay Theatre Troupe. Price St Theatre, Torquay, November 6, 2017.
David Williamson’s sharply drawn studies of modern Australian social mores ideally suit the Torquay Theatre Troupe.
Over the years, the company has built a strong reputation presenting light social comedies with accuracy and flair – and the company’s intimate Price St Theatre lends itself to Williamson’s conversational-level dialogue style.
Add to this TTT’s easy ability to draw cast members from the larger Geelong theatre scene while uncovering startling new talents – and it’s small wonder that patrons anticipated this final TTT play for the year, with delight.
They were not disappointed. This When Dad Married Fury had its packed preview-night audience laughing, gasping and relishing every nuance, subtle plot-twist and clever quip in Williamson’s neatly-crafted script.
Paul Friend played Alan, a 70-year-old financial tycoon widower returning to Sydney with his new American wife to a frosty reception from his adult children.
Paul played his part with brash expansive relish, while his real-life wife Meryl portrayed his acidic lawyer daughter-in-law with the cold skill of a smiling assassin.
Alongside these accomplished performers were two newcomers who added polish and gloss with very different skills.
The decorous Robyn Farrar played new wife Fury with perfect, fragile self-assurance, somehow bestowing her off-beat red-neck character with sympathetic charm. While former TTT president and accomplished director Gay Bell, surprisingly in her stage debut, played Mandy’s ruined widowed mother with a doughty fortitude that brought empathy, understanding – and sympathetic knowing laughter.
I recommend you see this When Dad Married Fury. It’s not only a showcase of playwright Williamson’s observational skill – but also of TTT’s fine staging ability. Together, they make great theatre.
What’s On in 2018?
Watch out for auditions in January/February for our May 2018 production and stay tuned for details of all 2018 productions including a one-act play event in July/August. Expect some new faces, new directors and more opportunities to be involved!
INSIDE THEATRE – BEHIND THE SCENES
So what happens to get a play off the ground?
Once a play and a Director has been selected (sometimes a task in itself) a casting call goes out (Facebook, supporters list, local theatre companies, known actors) for potential actors. Auditions take place after a couple of weeks and the play is cast with a plan for about 26 rehearsals between the initial read-through and opening night. Rehearsals start with some character-development, script analysis, the Director’s vision and confirmation of everyone’s availability for the rehearsal dates (we do still have a private and professional life to fit around rehearsals).
The technical and stage management crew are sought and called in to help with costumes, props, set design and building, lighting, sound, production, promotion, front-of-house, prompt and assisting the Director. These are the people who seldom show their faces on stage but without whom our shows would not go ahead.
The first stage for the actors is ‘blocking’, in which we read the script on-stage and the Director gives us advice about the set design (including any stage settings, furniture and props to know about) and, as we go through the script, makes suggestions and gives instructions about when and where to move (and to some extent why). We don’t do much about how to move, what ‘voice’ to use or where the emphasis of the script should be. That comes later. Depending on the complexity of the play, its length, the Director’s intentions and the space available on stage, the blocking can take a long time but sometimes is pretty straightforward. We run the blocking through a few times to fix it in the minds of the actors and to allow them to make notes on their scripts to learn whilst learning the lines. The assistant Director will also note the blocking in case someone can’t make a rehearsal and needs a stand-in. The blocking is sometimes done on an empty stage (we haven’t got all the set built or props gathered at this stage) so it’s up to the actors and Director to pay attention to what the physical constraints might be once furniture and props are being used.
After the blocking process, it’s time for the actors to start giving up their scripts and starting to commit the lines to memory, remember their movements, think about their interactions with fellow actors, consider the intent of their actions and experiment with a few different delivery methods. Script-free rehearsals allow the actors to start engaging with, and reacting to, their fellow actors which always give the words new meaning and intent. This is the exciting part and is where we, as actors, can express the words in a variety of ways which may bring forward new or different meanings and relationships on-stage.
More next time.
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