Sunday, May 26, 2013

WA Youth Theatre Company needs your help!


The WA Youth Theatre Company (WAYTCo) have a new production coming up - Another Twin - written by American award-winning playwright Lally Katz and directed by the fabulous Kirsty Hillhouse. Appointed as Artistic Director of WAYTCo in December, I was fortunate enough to have Kirsty read one of the leads in my feature at PAC Script Lab recently.

The tagline for the play: Is the Internet taking over your life?

Described as "Fear, Faith and Obsession tangle as science and spirituality confront. It’s head vs heart, thought vs emotion, machine vs God in a winner-takes-all conflict that threatens to tear the world in two."

Featuring 17 talented actors under the age of 27 and staged at the Dolphin Theatre on the UWA campus, this should be quite the show. Meet the cast here.

Thematically the play is right up my alley, particularly given I have an unproduced screenplay called The Tangled Web that I suspect deals with similar issues. So I'm really looking forward to seeing Another Twin.

But let's get to the crux of the matter! WAYTCo have a crowdfunding campaign on Pozible to raise $2000 to help make the show even more awesome. With a month left to run they're looking for donations and I'm happy to spruik for them.

Why?

This is a company that promotes excellence in our local young actors and always tackles interesting and challenging material. The two WAYTCo productions I've seen - Mine and the self-devised Wind - were very good. Indeed, Mine made it to my top ten list of plays/musicals of 2012 coming in at #5. There is a deserved expectation of excellence attached to their shows.

I have seen some of these actors before in WAYTCo productions and worked with one through another great youth organisation, Filmbites. Again, I expect the acting to be uniformly strong and I'm positive Kirsty will get the very best out of the cast.

Plus it sounds like it will be a ripping good yarn!

If you have a few dollars to spare, love thought provoking theatre and the idea of supporting upcoming local talent, please donate. There are great rewards on offer (I have already secured opening night tickets with my donation) and if the internet is truly taking over your life what better link to click on than HERE!

If you'd like to know more about WAYTCo you can also click on the following links:

Facebook pageVimeoBlog

Richard Hyde

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Behind the Scenes - Edison: Adventures in Power

Up that steep staircase and through the open door is the home of Davison Bros. Productions, creators of stop-animated short films such as Tropfest Finalist "Medusa" and "Cedric and Hope" currently in festivals worldwide.

Today they opened their doors - well, door - to let select contributors to the successful Pozible campaign for their latest project, "Edison: Adventures in Power", see how the sausage is made. In this case there really is sawdust in the sausage... and plasticine and all manner of things to make these stop animated characters come to life.

Producer Jacob Ford and Writer-Director Pierce Davison kindly spent an hour of their time showing me the sets and characters; how they were made; shared real-life tales of Edison; the creative process in developing the webisode; and revealed a little of the footage already shot.


Edison (centre) and his armless assistant (left) "on set".
It was a fascinating look at all the elements that need to come together to pull off something as ambitious as a stop animated webisode even with ScreenWest tipping in $3 for every $1 they raised in the campaign.

It is a very spacious home full of sets and props from previous projects, both theirs and other local filmmakers. Characters get recycled so you may see some familiar faces in Edison if you watch closely. Storytelling can also be dictated by the sets that have already been made. Alas, we might never see the epic fight scene atop a ferris wheel that was mentioned; but there certainly are a lot of castles in the Davison Bros. world!

A customer built fan for the short film, you guessed it, The Fan.
A most enjoyable hour so thank you for the invite. I look forward to seeing the completed webisode!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Nevermore the Musical

Just returned from seeing the musical Nevermore on a bleak, rainy night which suits this material down to the ground. The friends who accompanied me are Edgar Allan Poe fans but my knowledge was limited to a childhood reading of The Murders in the Rue Morgue with its memorable solution.

This is a relatively new musical and it was only on talking to cast members and the musical director afterwards that I discovered in its original form there is supposed to be only one performer playing Edgar Allan Poe. Here there are three! The transitions between Edgar (Paul Spencer), Dark Edgar (Caleb Robinson-Cook) and Young Edgar (Tate Bennett) are brilliantly done and really add to this version.

The costumes are outstanding and the set quite ingenious to help mask those transitions and add to the overall atmosphere. The decision to have the musical ensemble in front of the stage in full sight of the audience was a good one and they were in fine form. There were some problems with a performer's microphone which was a minor distraction, however the cast were in fine singing voice.

The songs were unfamiliar yet there were many strong numbers especially in the Second Act which felt more traditional musical theatre style. The highlight being "To My Mother" which is appropriate as Nevermore focuses on the women in Poe's life and how they shaped him as a writer. Ever present is the ghost of his Mother (Gemma Sharpe) who admonishes and cajoles Poe while his Mother-in-Law (Vivienne Glance) fears Poe will draw her daughter into his ever increasing darkness.

The other three women in Poe's life are his wife Virginia (Monica Brierley-Hay); first love Elmira (Tyla De Brett); and Whore (Donna-Maree Gavin). All are clearly delineated and shine a light on different aspects of Poe's descent into his own personal darkness.

During the Second Act it hit me that there is so much commentary on what it means to be a writer. "Who am I if I don't write?" Poe exclaims at one point. Exploring reality, truth and impact of allowing your demons to infest your work. The nature of writing and how it may affect those around you. Powerful and memorable.

My friends remarked it did end on a downbeat note but a story about Edgar Allan Poe was never likely to have a happy ending.

I thoroughly enjoyed this and would highly recommend it.

Nevermore is on at Playlovers for 5 more shows including Mother's Day!

For more reviews go to Perth Theatre Reviews.