‘Professional Premises’ is the second major play by Andrew O’Connell; a gifted WA actor who has tackled several genres in the past 5 years. Again, this teacher and playwright shows his immense writing and directing skills. He has a strong future.
‘Professional Premises’ is having its World Premiere presented by Company O at Paper Mountain, a Perth based, artist run initiative founded in late 2011. They have a gallery with a wide selection of contemporary art, upstairs at 267 William Street, Northbridge. Disabled access is available, contact operator for details.
This 100-minute show has a 10-day run and can be seen nightly at 7.30 until the 24th October. There is an extra show on Sunday 25th October at the earlier time of 6.30.
Tickets through Trybooking ‘paper mountain’.
The Scene: A theatrical rehearsal hall. Present day.
The Set: Designed by Joe Lui. To the left, an illuminated desk and office stool. Centre stage a makeup unit with illuminated mirror (supplied by Benedict Chau). Right is another office chair and a settee.
Lighting and sound: a simple lighting rig, operated by Andrew O’Connell.
A young eager actor, Lindsay (Lauren Beeton) is sitting on a chair reading the script of Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’ whilst learning her part as Miranda. Nearby is a slightly elderly man, Dave (Ron Arthurs) a well-seasoned performer with years of experience, who is revising his part as Prospero. ‘Revising’ because he knows every line and character in the play intimately.
Seated at his desk is Malcolm (Jeffrey Watkins), the play’s passionate director who tells the cast ‘not to worry too much about learning their lines – concentrate on the hidden meanings’. Dave is horrified and after asking Malcolm a couple of basic questions about the play, starts to wonder if the director is totally incompetent or a genius looking at this classic through new eyes and breathing excitement into every line – which Malcolm doesn’t mind modifying.
Soon tensions rise. Will the show go ahead?
Director Andrew O’Connell has selected a fabulous cast. Jeff does not do a lot of acting, but when he does you can always be sure to receive an outstanding performance. In a robust performance, Ron shows sarcasm and anger as he desperately tries to help the director but is constantly shunned. Lauren portrays an enthusiastic dedicated youngster, possibly on her first major production, who is petrified in case the whole thing collapses.
The story starts very slowly, you can almost feel yourself thinking is this cast incompetent? Is it a bad script or is the direction rubbish? But this is exactly what we are required to think. The confused cast stagger from scene to scene under the lack of leadership – but this is the story NOT the play we are watching. With great skill, Andrew and his fabulous cast build the pace, the tension and the aggravation to a huge climactic ending.
This play will make every theatrical person cringe and laugh. We have all seen directors and casts like this before, but here you are allowed to laugh at the shambles being presented.
A clever and unique script superbly presented. Highly recommended.