Tom's picks for August - Tertiary

5 Aug 2014

The latest recommendations from our Literary Manager



Each month Tom delves into our extensive catalogue and suggests plays suitable for classroom use, for tertiary study and performance and for community theatre groups. You can also get these recommendations delivered via email, by signing up here.



by Jenny Kemp

by Robert Reid

Recommended for tertiary study

Two more different plays are hard to imagine! These plays are both from the Melbourne vault, but they come from writers of vastly different generations, genders and stylistic taste. They are both moody and evocative and plays that I feel might spark the imagination of adventurous theatre makers.
Black Sequin Dress by Melbourne writer and director Jenny Kemp is a singular work. It has Kemp’s hallmarks of beautiful, spare and poetic writing, stark images and a kind of watery blur between reality and dream/fiction. This is a work that is very open to interpretation and has the ability to conjure the thick, smoky weirdness of the subconscious. There is no ‘one way’ to interpret this piece and this is one of the many reasons I have chosen to feature it. It would be a great piece to tackle in the tertiary environment because it is so flexible and has so many challenges, not just for the performers but also for directors and designers. If you are looking for a poetic, physical style-piece with great roles for women, go no further! This is your Eureka!!
Fuel by Robert Reid was conceived as a solo piece where one actor played the six roles, but it can as easily be performed by 6 actors playing one character each. Reid’s calling cards are all here – this is atmospheric, fast-moving, dark-and-dirty writing, which is evocative, thrilling and pacey. It is high-testosterone but, as with all of Reid’s writing, poetic and highly intelligent as well. A great challenge to stage if you decide to go beyond its realism, it is also a wonderful and rich gift for young actors.
And what a double bill these would make!

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Since graduating from the Victorian College of the Arts and Music (VCAM) in 1989 Tom Healey has worked as an actor, a director and a dramaturg with companies and projects around the nation. Positions held include Curator of the Australian National Playwrights’ Conference (2006), Artistic Associate of Playbox (1999-2003), Artistic Directorate (Hothouse Theatre 2006-09), Casting Consultant and Artistic Counsel (Malthouse Theatre 2005-07) and Panellist (Arts Victoria Performance Panel). As a dramaturg he has worked with Australian playwrights both emerging and established, and he has directed premieres of many new Australian works. He has also directed and developed works in contemporary opera, cabaret and music theatre and taught at the universities of Melbourne, Ballarat and La Trobe as well as the VCAM and NIDA. Tom is currently the Literary Manager of the Australian Script Centre.

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