First chance to see new Canberra-made plays

WHEN you see a finished production in the theatre, more often than not, it looks easy – simple.

First Seen

In fact, as most writing experts would acknowledge, nothing is harder to write than  play and with this in mind, The Street Theatre is, for the  third year running, offering Canberra audiences the opportunity to be part of the writing creative process and help  The Street development performance works to production-ready stage.

Two years ago I attended all the plays being subjected to the dramaturgical process over a period of a month in “First Seen: New Works-In-Progress.” Last year they were all crammed into one weekend as a kind of centenary event, but this year the Street’s artistic director Caroline Stacey has returned to the initial process, spacing the sessions.

If you really want to know how play is written and to give both spoken and if you want verbal feedback, “First Seen” is for you.

The works are chosen for the workshop process by Stacey with the aim of progressing the works to production-ready form. Usually at mid-stage in their development process, they could be textbased plays, physical theatre or hybrid performance works.

Canberra artists working on the new scripts include directors Tamzin Nugent, Nicky Tyndale-Biscoe and Rochelle Whyte, dramaturgs Peter Matheson and Karla Conway and performers  Raoul Craemer, Ben Crowley, Olivia Hewson, Kate Hosking, Craig Higgs, Clare Moss, Szuszi Soboslay, Emma Strand.

This year two of the works are being developed for solo performance by actor/writers Zsuzsi Soboslay and Raoul Craemer for The Street’s Solo season of work.

As well, Lado Shay’s “Psyche” brings light to the world of dreams and their meaning,  exploring in the development the expression of a sensuous, seamless, dreamlike world, while  Emma Gibson’s “Grief Eaters” draws upon Greek myth and tragedy addressing the tension of our private selves existing within the public sphere of civilisation – and whether we can ever achieve freedom, from fate, and from society.

The exciting parties that after each public presentation Canberra audiences – that could be you – are invited into a discussion with writer/composer, director, and dramaturgs and you could easily have a direct influence on the final shape of the play.

The 2014 program is as follows:

“Psyche” by Lado Shay, Sunday May 11, 3pm. Sabina Spielrein, an eighteen year old Russian girl diagnosed as hysteric, meets her analyst, Carl Jung, already famous throughout Europe. Both are extravagant dreamers. They share their intimate dreams – hers of a ragged angel, his of a profane god. Theirs is a rare meeting of hearts, minds, talents and obsessions. It is the meeting of two great pioneers exploring the last unknown – the human psyche.

“Untold” by Raoul Craemer  (120 minute session with “Anthems and Angels”)  Sunday May 25, 3pm. A character on stage discovers that he is in a play. He has a folder detailing everything that has happened and is going to happen to him. The playwright who has written the play then appears.  He is going to ‘nail’ the character today.

“Anthems and Angels” by Szuszi Soboslay, Friday May 25, 3pm. A woman has had to leave her country and all that is familiar, crossing a threshold into a new world. She is composed of fragments of sound, smell, landscapes, movement and poems.  She is unsure whether the anthems of her youth are heroic, or not. Were the angels who sang her to sleep really the devil in disguise? Crossing oceans and generations, from post-war Europe to Australia, what beauties and terrors are harboured in the refugee’s mind?

“Grief eaters” by Emma Gibson Sunday  June 8, 3pm. Ellen, Jason and Phoebe are three journalists who spend their days reporting tragic events for tabloid television news and nights at a karaoke bar drowning their sorrows. Phoebe worries that the act of reporting tragedy will beget new tragedy. A destructive course of action is set as these consumers of grief become consumed by it.

“First seen,” at The Street Theatre, may 11 to June 8, tickets $15 includes glass of wine or coffee. Bookings to 6247 1223 or thestreet.org.au

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