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Talented cast assembled for David Williamson's After the Ball PDF Print E-mail

Local audiences have a chance to see one of David Williamson’s most acclaimed and moving plays when Phoenix Ensemble presents After The Ball over four weekends in June.

Director Maria Grills has assembled an exceptional cast of Phoenix regulars and dynamic newcomers to bring to life this acclaimed drama, which offers a frank, critical look at Australian suburban family life in the 1960s and 1990s.

At turns torturous and hilarious, it traces the aspirations, disappointments and realities that test family life at a time of bewildering social change.

It’s the story of Stephen, who reluctantly returns home to his mother’s deathbed. As he and his sister rake through the family photographs and childhood memories, they find conflicting versions of their parent’s unhappy marriage.

after_the_ball_webMaria says while the play is set in the 60s and 90s, it could just as easily be set today.

“The major themes are still so relevant: social issues of justice and equality, and people’s external reactions to issues raised and actions taken by our governments and those who hold positions of power.

“And the issues within the family are also not isolated to the period of the play. We still have issues of our children chasing dreams, leaving home, the sense of responsibility toward family, all being played out in homes today. I look at characters within After the Ball and see myself, my parents, my siblings…”

Maria’s love for Australian plays dates back to her youth, when she left Australia to chase her dreams. “Like so many performers and young people in the 60s, I headed to England to find what it was I was looking for. After five wonderful years I returned home, only to find that here was the most fabulous place to live, and we had writers and performers as good as – if not better than – many I had come across overseas.”

She said David Williamson’s pieces were a “welcome home” gift to herself, because in them, she found an Australia she could relate to.

“I could see the dynamics of family and interactions between characters that I could witness any day of the week in my own family and those of friends.”

For that reasons, After the Ball offers something for audiences of all ages.

“I truly believe that nearly everyone who sees it will recognise something of themselves, or someone they know. They will laugh through the play, and leave the theatre in the tears. As one of my players said: ‘If we get this right, it could be a two or three hanky job!’.”

The intimate Pavilion Theatre (in the Beenleigh Showgrounds) is the perfect environment in which to experience a work by Australia’s best known playwright, whose ability to tap into the Australian psyche has impressed audiences for more than four decades.

After the Ball is a must for fans of quality Australian drama. Tickets are on sale now.

Venue:        Pavilion Theatre, Beenleigh Showgrounds, James Street, Beenleigh

7.30pm:    1, 2, 9, 10, 15, 16, 22, 23 June

Tickets:     $24 adult; $20 concession

Bookings

Cast:

    Kate (the older)             Jo Castle
    Kate (the younger)         Janice Hancock
    Judy (the older)             Heather Scott
    Judy (the younger)        Briana Thompson
    Stephen (the older)       Steve Pearton
    Stephen (the younger)   David Sigston
    Ron                              Kevin Doyle
    Claire                           Marie Ortquist
    Maureen                       Sue Matley

Last Updated on Monday, 14 May 2012 11:26
 
Rehearsed reading of original musical: Billy Buckett E-mail

Billy Buckett is set in Britain in the late 1950s, when the world was awakening to the teenage revolution and the music that drove it wild. It’s a love story between a struggling young musician and the daughter of a rich man, who must overcome social and economic pressures to be together.

Billy Buckett was first performed in Britain in 1988, where it was warmly received. Recent renewed interest prompted Jay and creative partner (and wife) Cath Mundy to spend hundreds of hours reworking the script and songs. They’re now looking to road test the revamped musical.

“I knew I had the core of a good show, but I became aware that certain elements of the script weren’t working,” Jay said. “With help from script editor Katrina Graham, and Cath, I dissected the entire story and all the characters. It was like taking a car apart and putting it back together again – both scary and exhilarating!”

Jay said while Billy Buckett was set in the 1950s, it wasn’t like other period musicals where the plot was just an excuse to showcase hit songs.

“Billy Bucket has a strong story with an inherent social commentary playing alongside a delightful British sense of humour. Along the way, we investigate the social and fiscal position of women in the 1950s, the tensions between teens and the older generation, class, poverty, wealth, love and self belief.  There’s moments of high drama and pathos and yet there’s plenty of laughs.”

The show features all original music, written by Jay. “British rock’n’roll developed it own distinctive sound, and I wanted to reflect that in my show.”

Based in Waterford, Jay said Phoenix was the obvious choice to approach about a rehearsed reading. “Phoenix has a reputation for high quality work and is well known particularly for its musicals. The company is local to us and we really love the idea of working with local talent to incubate the play. We have lots of fabulously artistic people in Logan!”

Rehearsed reading performances will take place at the Pavilion Theatre, James St, Beenleigh on Friday 27 and Saturday 28 April at 7.30pm. Tickets will be available at the door. Phoenix members free, non-members $10.

Cast includes: Scott Johnson, Kate Doohan, Jack Henry, Deb Taylor, Joel Mikkelsen, Bec Hundy, Brea Robertson, Hannah Crowther and Scott Young.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 April 2012 18:17
 
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