Griffin Artist Card membership is an initiative to increase access to our theatre. This program facilitates the coming together of artists across different disciplines and at different stages of their career. It supports and strengthens a vibrant emerging artist community, as well as acknowledging this community as an important part of the Griffin family and the wider theatre world.
How does it work? We want to offer a place where artists can see work, discuss work and make work.
To see work, we will continue to offer heavily discounted $15 tickets, which can be booked in the first fortnight of all Griffin and Griffin Independent shows, Performance Space shows at members' rates and ticket deals and giveaways to other theatre companies.
To discuss work, we are introducing regular Artist Card events where the community can come together for a drink.
And finally, we are supporting emerging artists in their making of new, bold and exciting work. Griffringe will continue to be a great avenue for artist card holders to display their work. We will also be offering (where possible!) free use of our space for readings and developments.
The Artist Card is a community. It is the glitter glue that brings all the cool amazing arty people together and helps them sparkle. So it's almost like glitter glue squared. If you are interested in joining the artist card outfit, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or come along to our next shindig….Hope to see you there!
Posts tagged Old Fitzroy Theatre
Guest Blogger #10: Kate Gaul on ‘The Lunch Hour’
Earlier this year I produced and directed The New Electric Ballroom at the SBW Stables theatre as part of Griffin Independent. It is a stunning play by Irishman Enda Walsh and we had an amazing season. But there’s a play that I’ve been working on for some time and it’s a new Australian play by Chris Aronsten called The Lunch Hour – for a season at Darlinghurst Theatre from September 7th – October 7th, 2012.
I met Chris Aronsten – well, I estimate it was 1999. We worked together in a theatre box office in Sydney. All of the casual staff were pretty much writers, actors, directors or designers. I was in and out of that kind of work as I established myself as a director in Sydney and kind of ended up following Chris around in various casual jobs. I main interest was directing new plays and I had already begun producing the occasional show.
Fast forward to 2006 – writers and directors tend to form relationships and Chris and I had kept in touch. He wrote a collection of three monologues titled Human Resources. I love the monologue form, I’d recently returned from a stint of professional development in America and I was really keen to get stuck into some new work. What I love about Human Resources is it’s biting black comedy; the daring use of language (which requires actors working at the top of their game); and it’s themes of control and isolation. It’s three monologues for two men and one woman. They are thematically interlinked and when I directed the production for the Darlinghurst Theatre I also worked with an ensemble of actors - in addition to the three major characters - who acted like a Greek chorus assisting, observing, and (hopefully) heightening the action.
The characters and stories in Human Resources explore the dehumanising workplace that so many of us experience – the monologues also touch on fears of being replaced by machines, homophobia, violence and personal isolation. There is enormous compassion for these flawed, sometimes awful characters.
What’s that quotation? “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.” Henry David Thoreau. Yes, that kind of sums up the world in this play. You can take a look as some photos and reviews of Human Resources here.
So, keen to move onto a full length play Chris writes The Lunch Hour. This is a play in two acts for seven actors. Wow! A big ambitious move forward.
In the meantime Chris has written and directed Malice Toward None for the Old Fitz and been working on other projects.
When I first read The Lunch Hour I found it’s scarifying view of the world pretty confronting. Six struggling artists in a call centre…. (mmm, they do say to write what you know …) The office is like a jungle where the workers, like wild animals, compete to survive. The Lunch Hour is also a comedy. I guess it’s theme is human failure. It’s also about dreams. The play is outrageously theatrical and is about the theatre too. It’s definitely entertaining. It’s really funny and there’s nothing nicer than recoiling from an astute observation and gaffawing out loud.
Like any great play it’s full of challenges for the director and actors. It’s very fast moving with lots of one-line speeches and lots of cross talk – this is a busy office! There’s a violence simmering under the surface, there is in fact a full-blown fight scene; the play moves through genres and - without giving anything away – there’s a big finish!
It’s an absolute ensemble piece and we have a wonderful cast – Angela Bauer, Briallen Clarke, Branden Christine, Shaun Rennie, Bali Padda, Sonny Vrebac and Gerry Sont. And a terrific Creative team – Charli Dugdale, Luiz Pampolha, Daryl Wallis, Diego Retamales, Ash Bee and Kirby Burgess. We’re fortunate and very grateful to be presenting this play at the Darlinghurst Theatre as part of the last season in the current theatre. Producing and presenting new Australian work is always risky and it’s heartening to have Darlinghurst’s support.
Ultimately I find The Lunch Hour to be very original. I like the way if confronts me. I admire its skill and ambition. And I am very excited to be starting rehearsal to bring The Lunch Hour to a brave audience in Sydney. I have not worked with any of the actors in the production so that’s also going to be a journey for us all.
In preparation for rehearsal we did get together with the cast for a couple of meetings in July. Firstly the hear the play read be the cast. We’re having the playscript published to coincide with the season in September and that requires the play to be at the printer before rehearsals commence – scary! Because as the play hasn’t been performed before there will be changes as we create the production. It’s been useful to hear the play and already Chris has tweeked bits and pieces. He’s also working with Daryl on some music for the show. I like the way that once we are all in the room together ideas flow, suggestions are made and tried, mulled over and tried again. It’s a harmonious relationship. Chris will come into rehearsals occasionally. With fresh eyes he can feedback on technical things like rhythm and tempo; focus any character or relationship slippages and be there to answer questions that may arise. How wonderful to have the writer around.
We will have a weekly blog entry from one of the team. Liz Arday who is our Assistant Director and Elizabeth Gibney who is observing the process will both be contributing. Currently there’s a bit of an interview with Chris on the site. And you can catch all of this here.
The adventure of the rehearsal room begins next Monday – wish us well!
Kate Gaul July, 2012
BRON BATTEN - SWEET CHILD OF MINE
I had the good fortune to catch the majesty of Bron Batten at Cut & Paste #12 last night at the Old Fitz. She stood on stage, telling us the story of her first kiss and ending it by becoming her sixteen year old self again, waiting for someone in the audience to come and kiss her as ‘So Kiss Me’ blasted over the speakers. It was electric.
Bron is a Melbourne-based artist and we are lucky enough to have her up here at the moment with her performance ofSweet Child of Mineat the Tiny Stadiums Festival at PACT. I’ll be catching up with her in the next couple of days to chat about her show but for now, here’s a sense of it from good ol’ Jason Blake:
“Sweet Child of Mine, written and performed by Bron Batten, is also based on interviews, though sourced closer to home.
Day three: Of rehearsals, forests and a 5 am city.
Last night I came home.
I spent rehearsal with my sides hurting from laughing so hard- possibly not the professionalized way to direct, but I don’t direct anyway. I relax in the back of the boat enjoying the breeze and occasionally tap the rudder. Watching Scarlet up the contrast, clarify the intent, tiny one line tinkerings.
But when I am on a consistent 3/4 hours sleep all week, and my cast a flipping brilliant- I just sit back and enjoy. It makes it a much more inclusive muckabout- actors tossing about direction to each other, coming up with endings, and it means i get delightful surprises and a work improved by combined talents, joint ownership and casual lack of pressure. Its my preferred style, resulting in work not as tight as it could be with rigor real directing, but much faster, funner and often drunker. It is about us having a good time before giving the audience one. I love keeping it fresh and tripup-able and so finished the last of our two short rehearsals high n the talent of my wonderful creatures, all hanging back to smoke and run lines as I cycle off into the night for foresting.
I am excited for the show. Rough and ridiculous with some very good bits, sharp timing and great music to make up for the scripts failings. Hopefully.
And my forest: most of it went in today. I did not expect what I got: a strange fantasy land has taken over the pub- infinitely better that I thought I could be in my cold dawn rides home, where I was too tired to think and almost cult victim like with my blind trust in Alli of the week befores plans, my ability to do nothing but the many menial tasks set in front of me, a nirvana like un-thought that was quite tranquil over the irking sense something was terribly wrong.
Then it all looks so small loaded into the van of smiling joyful companions, and then I discover that the staple gun is truly the finest of gods creatures as I take to the Old Fitz’s crumbling walls with branches and flowers like a virus of forestry.
And she grows, and is Magic.
All done with beautiful helpers, drivers, amazing organizers. I am full of gratitude.
And contented exhaustion.
Part One: On Writing A Play (as Alli Sebastian Wolf knows it)
On writing a play:
This play happened in two afternoons. And it happened without a name.
I love names. Most of my projects start with a title, ‘The Hideous Dimise of Detective Slate’ started with it’s title and grew into a beast that lived in my life for years, and is yet still slumbering waiting to rise again. ‘The Importance of Being Earnest Dragons’ started as just that, and it’s extended version just on at the Fitz ‘The Importance Of Being Earnest Dragons And Other Classic Tales As Told By An Octopus’ started extending by just it’s title and my desire for a smoking jacket clad, pipe smoking octopus narrator. Even my first exhibition ‘Love Song For Pluto’ was just a name- and then with all of them I filled it out, growing something to drape the name on.
So when I had no name for the play about to be performed at Home Brew next week, it was a bit like not having a play at all. The working title (shudder the thought) was something like ‘play for home brew where a spaceship crashes in a jungle, d1’.
Now it is just The Jungle Play. Which was conceding to the naming gods.
But back to the writing. Keeping up? Still here? Gosh, aren’t you tolerant of rambles.
The Jungle Play:
So rather than a name this play started with a jungle. And a space ship I found on the side of the road. And me wanting to have a Siamese twin cannibalistic dandy lean over his piano and say ‘Don’t you know where you are? You’re in the Jungle, baby’ before busting out into Guns n Roses Welcome to The Jungle lounge singer style ala Richard Cheese.
And it started one wintery afternoon.
A pouring with rain wintery one a month or so back, just climbing out from under my last show which had been huge and sparkly and full of love and sexual tension, and the comedown had thrust a kind of immediacy on myself (and the beautiful Scarlet McGlynn who directed/produced), where my creative brain was interested only in drinking in the park with trashbag friends, and avoiding all thoughts of the life yapping to be caught up on.
This rainy afternoon broke that fog. While pretending to write my next play for Scarlet (Mermaid Teeth, hopefully to preview at the next Grifinge), I was listening to Mr Fibby, eating spaceship shaped gingerbread and overdosing on weak coffees, tapping pens, staring at the rain, reading the Bushwackers Songbook and generally procrastinating. I have been told this is an important part of the process, and certainly it is useful because like cooking and cleaning ones room, playwriting only gets done when you are meant to be doing something else or have people coming over. My Deep Sea Astronauts are my people coming over, I keep them close and keep us busy, thus enforcing writing, staking out time to keep talented people playing creative talents. More of them in ‘Part Two: Rehearsals’.
And ‘Mermaid Teeth’ was a thing that needed to get done.
So naturally I avoided it by starting what is now The Jungle Play. And I was suddenly writing these characters, strange new creatures that started nattering away in my head and jostling for attention on the keys. These wonderful new voices, new personalities and I had no warning as to the mischief that were up to - it was making me laugh hard enough to distract the nearby tables. That is serious Reason Number One why I do playwriting, it is the first treat of making theatre – the hilarious delightful surprises.
And then they got tired and fell asleep and spent the next weeks glaring at me from the wardrobe demanding to know what was going to happen to them and why did I own this many scratchy jumpers?
But they would not finish the play, and I had a forest to build to infest the upper floor of the Fitz for the festival, and friends to play with and a band to pretend to be in, so I chucked them a blanket I left them there til they decided to write their own bloody play.
This week I had something else due, quick writings on given modern urban characters for Write Here Write Now- an Augusta Supple brain child of getting playwrights together. It was not a soul project for me, and after breaking the rules so the moon could be a character I got bored and wandered over to see what my Home Brew characters were doing. Still a stalemate from Marko and the King Of France, and Spaceman Blake never really had much to say. But then some valley girl rock witches walked in and started stomping all over the place, demanding the attention and threatening to eat people. It was brilliant and I loved them for it. So another afternoon and there is a play.
I have clearly stopped writing the play before the play has stopped.
But that is the joy of rehearsals. First one on the morrow. Very exciting – that is the next a biggest treat of playwriting – the what happens when the words are not in your head but taking shapes in the bodies of others.
Til then – thank you for trying to read this. See you in the forest.