Tag: Belvoir St Theatre
Tasmanian-born playwright Tom Holloway is having a banner year: last month he premiered a play at Tasmania’s Ten Days On The Island festival – directed by and starring former mentors Julian Meyrick and Robert Jarman, respectively; this month he opens two plays on the same night in Sydney and Melbourne; then he spends six weeks in residence at London’s National Theatre.
For most people, spending a major playwriting commission (from one of Australia’s biggest theatre companies) on visiting a psychic when you’re meant to be writing a play about psychics might be a source of embarrassment. Playwright Lally Katz is not most people. And so the story of living in New York and getting a bit obsessed with a fortune-teller named Cookie is not merely a quirky anecdote to be shared with her friends, but a one-woman show to be shared with a hundred strangers every night for a month. And this is how Katz – with the help of director Anne-Louise Sarks (award-winning director of Medea at Belvoir last year) is going from playwright to performer in one fell swoop.
“Don’t look at me like that. I didn’t do anything,” protests Ryan (Joshua Anderson), in the final, climactic moments of This Heaven. He’s trying to ward off at least two things here: the advancing line of rioters, from whom his plastic, standard-issue NSW Police Department shield barely protects him, but also his lingering guilt over the brutal death of an innocent man. It’s a searing encapsulation of what lies at the heart of this play: a true contemporary tragedy.
When you’re passionate about something, you can achieve anything. It’s a tired cliché but it proved startlingly true for playwright Nakkiah Lui, whose full-length debut This Heaven is currently playing at Belvoir downstairs. “There was a tribute on a fence for a young girl who had passed away in Mt Druitt. Then one day it was gone. Someone had burnt it in the night. I couldn’t get the image of fire out of my mind. I went home and I wrote the first draft of This Heaven in a night. It all came rushing out. I didn’t plan to write it, but after I did, I realised all of it had been in me for a very long time.”
Bet you thought Peter Pan was a children’s book, right? Yes – but J.M. Barrie’s beloved adventure about Peter, the Darling children and Neverland started life as a play, debuting in 1904 (an era when theatre was a form of mass entertainment in London), before being re-written as a novel in 1911. Next month, Belvoir’s Artistic Director Ralph Myers will take the helm of a new production that seeks to get back to the story’s theatrical origins, and awaken our powers of make- believe.