Our September picks for community theatre
John Kachoyan - AustralianPlays.org Literary Manager
This month I have chosen plays by some of our best writers. Andrew Bovell writes profusely for stage and screen and has given us some great contemporary classics of the Australian Theatre. Hannie Rayson is also equally at home on stage and on screen (and, most recently as a memoirist), and Justin Fleming, whose adaptions of Moliere have become a staple on our stages in recent times.
When The Literati opened at Griffin Theatre last year (in a co-production with Bell Shakespeare) the critics could hardly find the words they needed to praise it. I am taking a bit of a risk here in recommending an adaptation, but Fleming is well known for his skill in bringing Moliere into the Australian vernacular and remaking the plays for a new century and culture. Well known because he is a master of it. This has punchy dialogue and brilliantly streamlined plotting that not only makes you cack yourself, it also gives you a few things to think about. Finding a good comedy is hard (and very necessary for box office) and this is a rollicker. Based on Moliere’s original, Les Femmes Savante or Learned Ladies this is a sharp and satirical play with fabulous roles and brilliant design opportunities.
Scenes from a Separation was commissioned by Australian Theatre royalty, Robyn Nevin (when she was the Associate Director at the Melbourne Theatre Company). The conception of this work is astounding. Take two writers, one male and one female and ask them to write an act each of a full length play which examines the events and fallout of a separation - from separate points of view (Act 1 is ‘his’, Act 2 is ‘hers’). Being Bovell and Rayson it is full of astonishing writing and beautiful human insight, and it is stylish, sophisticated and emotionally delicate. This is a gorgeously human and emotional piece with – of course – amazing roles and one hell of a marketing hook. I think this would go down a bomb in a community season. It’d be great to see it!
Tom Healey, Literary Manager