03 May, 2010

in the playhouse

i feel that i never get to enough plays, so to have eight in one hit puts my annual total up a bit. this is the weekend i was waiting all year for, since i moved here.
the north queensland festival of one-act plays over two nights at the civic theatre was as good as i'd hoped. i don't know which play or performances won yet (didn't stay for the decision) but i know which ones i liked. i remember going to either the first or second festival years ago when wendy was teaching drama at st margaret mary's (this was the 17th) and the audience was much larger.
i was disappointed with the size of the audience this time. hardly any young people and possibly lacking in many of the local school drama departments' students and teachers (although the weekend clashed with groovin the moo at murray, so maybe that was where they all were?)

my pick for best play: jabberwocky by ken cotterill with community theatre.
my pick for best actors (several): emma davis in sorry wrong number (as well as several of the operators) by columba catholic college and both esme mullens and lyn tarring in townsville little theatre's garbage by helen wyngard.
no idea about best direction (there were many good elements).

mitch and miranda (community theatre) - effective use of breaking the fourth wall, and repetition with a twist in the end that i did not see coming.

lee (kumcom theatre) - interesting use of old film to introduce the play (subject - who really killed jfk?) but it went on too long. the man and lee were very powerful characters.

heedless spirits (pimlico state high) - good cast (4 f, 2 m) but the synopsis didn't match what i saw in the end - while i heard that julia was no longer in love with dave, when he came to sit next to her at the end (in a very smooth move), she looked bashful rather than indifferent. the interaction between the girls was brilliant though.

jabberwocky (community theatre) - excellent absurdist theatre! i absolutely loved the woman who was not there, especially her rhythmic spoken word dance act -  he beats her / every night / bam / bam (cheryl maddox). the poor man! he eventually gave in to 'the force from outside' and staggered off stage at a 45 degree angle. the waitress was good too with line delivery.

 the shed (townsville little theatre) - clever, a one act play with two sets.

sorry wrong number (columba catholic college) - excellent lighting and direction. mrs stevenson was in bed, only used her upper body, only ever used the telephone. no walking, just lots of talking (and shouting and one very effective scream). each telephone operator was stagelit at their turn at one side of the stage. there were some very funny accents and mannerisms. it was very dial m for murder. the sound of the train and the deep-voiced man at the end were very chilling. lovely to see mrs stevenson alive after curtain fall to come in to the audience for the next play!

garbage (townsville little theatre) - strong audience support from tlt members. lyn tarring as florrie probably had the most heartrending stage speech of the festival. as both florrie and sniffy left the stage (at different times), i would have probably made a point of writing that both of them had left their homes or once had homes. it was a point made for florrie, but i don't remember it for sniffy. mags, who liked the open space never left the stage.

three brilliant performances coming up in the year for the school's program too.
the gruffalo, an adaptation of the picture book by julia donaldson and axel scheffler.
special delivery, a visual comedy.
and something i highly recommend (i saw these performers at out of the box 2006) - tashi!! two tales from imaginary theatre and anna and barbara fienberg's tashi stories.

thanks, townsville theatre community!

added notes 5.5.10: Results published so far

Congratulations to Columba Catholic College students involved in the Townsville Festival of One Act Plays held over the May Day Long Weekend. The play “Sorry, Wrong Number” won the award for the Best Production – Junior Section; Best Director – Junior Section; and Best Crew – Festival.

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