'I think therefore I am.'  Descartes            'I AM THAT I AM.'  Exodus.3.        'I am what I am.'  La Cage aux Folles

30 September 2015

The Seagull Stuffed and Reanimated.

The Seagull
17 September 2015
Billy Brown Studio

All praise to Anton Chekov for a masterpiece and super praise to Daniel Evans for a relevant, gripping and exceptional adaptation. Last night I went to The Seagull. 
Back on the 24th August I went to a briefing about the new production and you can see my shiny bald spot in the photo above. How informative and inclusive are these evenings. So much more insight into the upcoming play and the processes behind the production and the approach given by the cast and creatives. Then we come to the play itself and once again Daniel has written a script and on this occasion also directed a work that is absorbing, affecting and awash with wonderful language, reference and eloquence immersed in modern colour and familiarity. He was so blessed as always to have the benefit of a set of truly outstanding actors who in this version are all given prominance. No one is left in the background and all shon so brightly last night. I heard people heaping praise on the actors, the emotional impact and on the relevance of this piece first performed October 17 1896. 
I was lucky enough to have so many people I know on facebook or at least met involved. Christen O'Leary as the loud and proud diva Irena with a hidden insecurity and vulnerability as a performer moving to maturity, Emily Burton as the young aspiring, but apparently failing actress Nina, Jason Klarwein as the pretentious self absorbed writer Trigorin, Nicholas Gell as the passionate,insecure new writer Konstantin with mother issues, Barbara Lowing as the sensational and frustrated Ilya, Hugh Parker as the unfaithful doctor, Lucas Stibbard as the forlorn, but ever hopeful Medvedenko, Helen Cassidy as Ilya's also unfaithful lover Polina and Amy Ingram as the very bitter Masha. Once again the night had an outstanding performance from Brian Lucas as he indulged with all his being in the at times joyful decent of Sorin into mental instability and death. A truly involved performance that members of the audience owned up to the tears they shed. The sexual intrigues were paramount as the relationships evolved with abandon and the discussion it holds on the nature and background of theatre, writing and the artists involved is totally fascinating for anyone interested in the arts.
Once again Ben Hughes did a brilliant job with real lighting, moods and focus and with the magic sound scape of Guy Webster the whole evening was enhanced, especially when we were left with the full cast singing a heart wrenching song which Guy had hinted at, throughout the play and fulfilled as the lights dimmed.
After the show I stayed for the meet the artists Q&A which was the icing on the cake as they revealed even more of the process and their feelings now that they are well into the season. Then for yet another glass of Red as I got to hug, shake hands with and congratulate a few of the artists involved. I was also luck enough to finally meet Tim Dashwood who was in the audience. Tim I have been seeing on stage for a few years now like most of the cast last night and their talents and versatility is one of the great blessings of theatre in Brisbane. You really must go and see this and you will have an amazing time.

Another Daniel Evans adaptation of Oedipus is found here:- 

This was the second production of The Seagull I saw this year.
The Seagull 
6th March 2015
Metro Arts
Three cheers for Kate Wild for forming a new theatre company 'Now Look Here' after working at places like The Gate Theatre and the Young Vic in London and now editing and directing Chekov's 'The Seagull' at the Warehouse space at Metro Arts here in Brisbane. What a fine cast and what a wonderful evening of theatre. Be prepared to overcome some physical hurdles manifest at the neglected Metro arts building. I was involved there in several ways with having movies, opera functions, exhibitions and meetings there around 35 years ago. It is certainly time for the government to invest a bit of money in repairs to maintain one of the few inner city arts spaces still in existence.
OK lets create a play with almost no set on a flat floor with a small number of chairs and a performance that draws you in, includes you in the action and makes you feel at home. Not just the physical environment but the actors and the activity made me feel like I was in a parlor as another guest. It was riveting. take a bunch of people, some writers, some actors going through the same traumas as today brought about by self absorption, emotional immaturity dreaming and passions on the loose and watch them mirror our insecurities, our frustrations and our blunders. There was such a strong cast and beautiful performances and several actors have seen previously like Thomas Hutchins (above) as Kostya (this is his 6th production I have seen). Thomas has magic eyes and a underlying musical resonance in his voice that is quite outstanding. Another great aspect of the evening was the choreographed light and set changes (minimal set) which became part of the performance of Kristian Šantić who played Jakov.

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