‘Sunday Night at the Hayman Theatre’. The tradition of two 45-minute plays for $10 continues, as it has for three decades. At present the New Hayman (building 302) has had asbestos fibres discovered in the roof and so the course’s productions have been moved down to the Sculptor’s Workshop in building 203 in the south east of the Curtin University campus. The shows will be presented there for the next month or two, however, the temporary rig is quite impressive with all of the high-tech lighting and sound desks and tiered seating.
Each week one of the plays changes, so that ‘The Last Tango at Little Grimley’ will be replaced next week by a new play. The shows are also presented at lunchtimes on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. The season runs until the end of semester. There will be about a dozen quality shows each with two plays.
‘The Last Tango at Little Grimley’ is the second play in the Little Grimley series by David Tristram, who was born in Dudley, near Birmingham in the UK. With 30 plays under his belt, David has proved his fine talent for writing comedy dialogue.
The Scene: is present day in a church hall in Little Grimley.
The Set: was designed by Kiri Siva. It is simple, with four wooden chairs and a small table in the corner for coffee making equipment and supplies – props (Dominique Duvall).
It is the weekly meeting of a local acting group – of four members! The self-appointed leader of the troupe Gordon (Ethan Milne) is talking to the scenery designer and builder, Bernard (Edzelle Abrio) about the meagre set for the last show. The young friendly, enthusiastic but talentless Joyce (Emily Bell) arrives and is just about to join the conversation when bossy, strait-laced Margaret (Kailea Porter) arrives, immediately demanding an election for the post of Chairman. Gordon quells the situation.
When Joyce reads out the latest bank balance, it seems that the last production made a massive loss. However, Gordon has a guaranteed way to make money on the next show … SEX, and he needs Margaret to be the main sex symbol.
With wonderful direction by talented actor, Matthew Arnold and his assistant director Christian Dichiera, every laugh was carefully dragged out of the clever and true to life script. The cast had a great bond and chemistry – hilarious. The Dramaturg added to the fun, this was supplied by the lighting designer Sam Ireland. The sound design (Gabi Munro) and surprise costumes (Alex Thorburn) topped off this very funny play.
‘Who the Fuck is Erica Price?’ was written by a Curtin University Creative Writing graduate. This raw play was crafted in 1994 by WA’s Sarah Brill and was first presented at the Perth Fringe. A few years earlier at the age of fifteen, Sarah gained many of her skills by attending four National Playwriters’ Workshops.
Since this play, Sarah has written two more radio plays for the ABC. Sarah now lives in Sydney.
This story is the life of a young prostitute who feels life is passing her by. It reminded me of Marianne Faithfull’s song ‘The Ballad of Lucy Jordan’.
The scene: a drab flat with good furnishings.
The set (Alex Comstock): Centre stage is an old chaise lounge. At the rear a curtained door leads to the bedroom. Across the room is an oak chest of drawers and mirror. Designer Samuel Ireland. The show was stage managed by Kyra Belford-Thomas. The daring and exciting costumes were gathered by Jane Tero. The music and sound design were by Sebastian Boyd.
Erica Price (Amber Anderson) roams around her room in her black lacy bra and knickers. It is yet another day of business for street girl Erica. Speaking directly to the audience, she explains how she agrees her price for the day, and then explains that ‘come the revolution’ everything will be different. A new life is always just around the corner for Erica.
Erica changes her costume many times throughout the show, each one representing the arrival or departure of another ‘client’. The men (Alex Hutchings plays several) vary from the nervous, lonely caring man, to the hard labourer who wants something different or rougher.
Some men point out to poor Erica that she is becoming older – how will she take their comments?
The director is Jemima Hill has managed to get the full emotion out of the script. With Amber (Erica) skilfully showing several moods and many emotions throughout the play. She kept a smile, but one could sense that just under this thin veneer Erica was hurting. Amber had several large chunks of monologue that were delivered flawlessly.