Tuesday, October 7, 2014

REVIEW: Short + Sweet Hobart – Program One (Australia)

The Playhouse Theatre, Wednesday October 1

There was not much going on in Hobart and my choices are either to see Cole Porter’s Anything Goes or the inaugural Short + Sweet in Hobart (Tasmania). Short + Sweet, on its thirteenth year, is the biggest festival of ten-minute theatre in the world. It started as a small festival of 10 minute plays in Sydney, Australia; and since then, have grew into an international organisation. Short+Sweet has made a difference in Australian theatre scene through developing new, original work with emerging artists and providing a platform for established artists to showcase their talents. Currently Short+Sweet locations in Australia include Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Canberra, Newcastle, Townsville, Rockhampton and now in Hobart! Short + Sweet is also in India, Malaysia, New Zealand, Dubai, Singapore and United Arab Emirates.

I suppose, at this point, I think the choice is clear. Beside, how many Anything Goes can one see in a lifetime… The Short + Sweet Hobart has three programs and each program has ten plays. I went to the Program One and it has the following plays:
  1. Tumbling Down (TAS) - Written by Ingrid Ganley; Directed by Julie Waddington 
  2. Love Me Tinder (TAS) - Written and Directed by Samantha Lush 
  3. The Audience (NSW) - Written by Grant Woolley; Directed by Cassie Xintavelonis 
  4. The Marineers Necklace (TAS) - Written and directed by Leigh Swinbourne 
  5. Will’s Dramaturg (USA) - Written by Rich Rubin; Directed by Tai Gardner 
  6. Transactions (VIC) - Written by Scott McAteer; Directed by Ingrid Ganley 
  7. Winter (Aus) - Written by Sue Smith; Directed by Justan Wagner 
  8. Milton (NSW) - Written by Robert Armstrong; Directed by Cassie Xintavelonis 
  9. The Twist (TAS) - Written by David Rish; Directed by John Andrews 
  10. Bankin’ On The Grand (USA) - Written by Chris Shaw Swanson; Directed by Maeve MacGregor 

I went to The Playhouse Theatre expecting a festive and exciting crowd, but there was none of that. There were only about 30 people in the audience in a theatre that can seat about 230. That didn’t bode well… but how wrong I was! Overall, the quality was high. While some performances can benefit from a few more run, I totally enjoyed the whole experience. Some of my favorites are:

  • TRANSACTIONS, written by Scott McAteer and directed by Ingrid Ganley. It is about a lonely man who visited a prostitute as he has done many times before. He was trying to fill in a gap in his life. He wants a sexless life that is defined by security and comfort. He wants to be rich and able to provide for his wife and two kids. She, on the other hand was tired of playing the strange role of a contented wife. The play showed the 10 minute transaction that was not going as planned. While the play has only two characters, the role playing within the work elevated the it into a multi-character and scenario play. Apart from a very good script, the play was brilliantly performed by Karissa Lane (She) and Ivano Del Pio (He) 
  • THE AUDIENCE, written by Grant Woolley and directed by Cassie Xintavelonis. It is about the performers playing the role of audience and then suddenly finding out that they are actually the performers! The best part of this work is the proposition of the play itself. It is Kafkaesque and it is brilliant. The script was good; but I can’t help but feel that it can even be wittier and surreal... well, easier said than done. The play was performed by Gill Hunt (Sandra) and Pip Tyrrell (Francesca), who were effective, but would also benefit from more rehearsal. 
  • WILL'S DRAMATURG, written by Rich Rubin and directed by Tai Gardner. This was an allusion to William Shakespeare meeting a modern dramaturg who believed that Will was not doing it right. The play was clever and funny in showing how the modern notion of “knowing the audience” and pandering to the demographics can be quite alien to the greatest playwright. Both John Xintavelonis (William Shakespeare) and Justan Wagner (Todd) were perfect… that is if you believe Shakespeare was Australian.
If I was in Hobart for a longer period, I would have gone to all the three programs! Congratulations to Short + Sweet Hobart for such a great start!



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