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Posts from the ‘plays’ Category

6
Feb

#Play Oslo

  • Playwright:  J.T. Rodgers
  • Title: Oslo
  • Genre: political play
  • Reading time: 2,5 hours
  • Opening night: June 16 2016 – Newhouse Theatre, NYC
  • Trivia: Tony Award for Best Play  2017
  • Epilogue: “…out of the crooked timber of humanity
  • …no straight thing was ever made.” (I. Kant)
  • Wikipedia link:  J.T. Rodgers
  • List of Challenges 2020
  • Monthly reading plan

 

  1. Timeline: April 1992 – September 1993
  2. Structure: 3 acts

 

Plot:

  1. Oslo tells the story behind the peace process that led
  2. to Israeli PM Rabin and PLO chairman Arafat
  3. shaking hands in Washington, with President Bill Clinton.
  4. Characters are Norwegian (9) , Israeli (5) and Palestinians (2).
  5. This moment was brokered by Terje Rød-Larsen
  6. …the central character of the play.
  7. He was a Norwegian diplomat who arranged secret meetings
  8. …between Israeli and Palestinian representatives.

 

Conclusion:

  1. I thought this would be a great play to read
  2. on the heels of Trumps Peace Plan for
  3. the Middle East dd. 28 January 2020.
  4. This is a blueprint for a two-state solution
  5. …it was dead on arrival.
  6. At least the play OSLO….shows that negations are
  7. …needed before a peace can be brokered.
  8. Trump’s plan is a Netenyahu’s wish-list.
  9. Strong point: serious political ideas within the form of a thriller
  10. Strong point:  familiar narrative from a surprising angle. (Norwegian)
  11. Weak point: not a play you can  just dive into!
  12. I had to map out each act (scenes, characters)
  13. so I could at least follow the plot.
  14. Act 1 –> scenes change swiftly 18 x !
  15. Pacing: is also very smooth.
  16. Trivia: J.T. Rodgers read Noel Coward’s comedic plays
  17. …to get a sense of pacing for a political play!
  18. Storyline: entertaining though slightly predictable as
  19. we go towards the ending
  20. …the iconic shaking of hands Rabin, Arafat, Clinton.
  21. Strong point: its more about the journey of it all
  22. …the secrecy, the deal-making.

 

Last Thoughts:

  1. This was a difficult play to read.
  2. But the play has been  inundated with awards
  3. …so J.T. Rodgers must be doing something right!
  4. I included a quick scan of the play to
  5. …help you if you ever read it.

 

Characters: Act 1:

  1. 4 minor (Marianne, Holst (married), Toril and Finn domestic staff at castle)
  2. 7 major (Mona, Larsen (married)  (PL) Qurie and Afour – (ISR) Hirschfeld, Pundak and Beilin
  3. Mona “breaks the 4th wall” 16 xspeaks directly to audience

Setting: Act 1

  1. Larsen flat (home of couple Mona and Terje Larsen (5 scenes)
  2. Borregaard Castle (entrance hall reception, drawing and negation rooms) (5 scenes)
  3. Hotel Suite London (3 scenes)
  4. University lecture hall (1 scene)
  5. UN Club Gaza Strip (1 scene)

Characters: Act 2

  1. 4 minor ( Holst,Toril, Finn, Am diplomat, Trond and Thor (intel police)
  2. 8 major (Mona, Larsen, (PL) Qurie and Afour – (ISR) Hirschfeld, Pundak, Savir, Beilin
  3. Mona “breaks the 4th wall”  6 x

Setting: Act 2

  1. Borregaard Castle (castle grounds, reception, drawing, cocktail, negation rooms) (8 scenes)
  2. Oslo (Foreign Ministry, Fornebu Airport (2 scenes)
  3. Larsen flat (1 scene)
  4. Frogner Park near HotelBristol London (1 scene)

 

Characters: Act 3

  1. 9 minor (Marianne, Holst (married), Finn, Thor, Trond
  2. Swedish hostess, German man, German woman, Am. diplomat
  3. 10 major (Mona, Larsen (central characters)
  4. (PL) Qurie and Asfour
  5. (ISR) Hirschfeld, Pundak, Beilin Savir, Singer – Peres
  6. Mona “breaks the 4th wall”   13 x

Setting: Act 3

  1. Larsen flat  (1 scene)
  2. Jerusalem (foreign ministry)  (1 scene)
  3. Oslo (foreign ministry (1 scene)
  4. Stockholm (Swedish Guest House) (1 scene)
  5. Borregaard Castle (reception, drawing, negation rooms) (6 scenes)
  6. White House Rose Garden (1 scene)
  7. Center stage empty (last scene) only 2 main characters Mona and Larsen

 

Playwright J T. Rodgers

16
Jan

#Non-Fiction Irish Theatre

Set Design by Francis O’Connor  for  play “The Big House” (Abbey Theatre)

 

 

Introduction:

  1. There is so much to learn from Helen Lojek’s essays.
  2. I have selected a few ideas to share with you.
  3. I learned to think more about the title of a play.
  4. You would be surprised what the author had hidden in it!
  5. I learned to look carefully at the setting.
  6. Who knew you could compare a bar (pub) with purgatory!

 

The Gates of Gold by Frank McGuinnes

  1. Setting: the domestic interior
  2. Stage: divided in “living room” and bedroom (“dying room) – EMPHASIS ON THEMES
  3. Title: explore meaning ‘The Gate’ is the theatre the partners founded in Dublin.
  4. On a metaphysical level the title frames Gabriel’s looming death.
  5. Stage directions: Silence: there is a definite significance of silence and lack of action
  6. Silence and lack of motion can be just as powerful as dialogue and action
  7. Irony: characters… Conrad  is teaching Gabriel how to die
  8. …and Gabriel is teaching  his partner how to live!!
  9. Dialogue: overlapping it is a
  10. …challenge to read or follow but provides a reflective commentary.
  11. Major threat: inescapable biological reality of death
  12. Ireland: the Irish future has arrived with
  13. …neither priest nor colleen nor greenfield in sight.

 

 

 

The Weir by C. McPherson

  1. Setting: local bar
  2. Bar = sacred place or even purgatorial where people
  3. can tell the truth b/c no one will return here.
  4. People ease their loneliness by sharing their interior lives.
  5. Stage: aging photos on the wall, barflys are male, the fire is peat and
  6. …the preferred drink is Guinness.
  7. Titel: is a metaphor The Wier for damned up emotion/feelings
  8. that will spill out in their stories…
  9. “on one side it is quite calm on the other side water is being squeezed through.”
  10. Lots under the surface is coming out.
  11. Stage directions: Silence: TV and radio are present but not turned on.
  12. Patrons  would rather tell stories.
  13. Irony: Valerie….the ‘intruder’ is  leaving the city for rural Irish landscape
  14. ….while other characters are rushing to the city!
  15. Dialogue: no indication that is bar has a window so exterior space
  16. …is only what the characters describe.
  17. Major threat: never-seen-but-often-discussed toerists (modernity)
  18. Ireland: rural area…a place for lonely bachelors and nonworking bathrooms
  19. …where Valerie comes to heal.

 

 

 

 

11
Sep

#AWW2019 Mary Anne Butler (playwright)

 

Conclusion:

  1. Some plays should not be analyzed…they just have to sink in.
  2. Mary Anne Butler
  3. …has written a phenomenal script.
  4. It is intimate, realistic and breathtaking drama.
  5. Three characters weave their story
  6. ….criss-crossing their lives with each other.
  7. I read the play 4 times:
  8. 1 x reading the role of Ham (man driving on desert road)
  9. 1 x the role of Ash (female in car accident)
  10. 1 x Mia (Ham’s wife…home alone after a great loss).
  11. Now I was ready to read the play
  12. with the voices echoing in my mind.
  13. This is THE best play I’ve read in a very….long time!
  14. Strong point:
  15. Stellar example of dramatic construction (dramaturgy)
  16. and …inventive dialogue!
  17. #MustRead….really a must!

4
Jul

#Play The Weir

Playwright:  Conor McPherson (1971)
Title: The Weir (1997)
Theme: loneliness.   Setting: pub in isolated town western Ireland
Trivia: Won Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Play 1997.
Trivia: Was voted one of the 100 most significant plays in 20th C
Genre: pastoral play. It gives the reader a slice of rural Irish life.

 

Analysis:

 

1. Explain the title. The Weir In what way is it suitable to the story?
a. OLD – The weir is a barrier whose function originally was a fence made of sticks or wattles built across streams or rivers that trap fish. It acts as a sieve.
b. NEW – The weir refers to a local dam built in 1951 to regulate water and generate power. c. The title is suitable as a symbol between the contrasts in the play: old vs modern; world of folklore vs contemporary life; between agricultural tradition vs 20th C modern development.

2. What is the predominant element in the story – plot, theme, character, setting?
Jack: garage owner, 50’s
Brendan: the owner of the pub 30’s (only listens, no story to tell)
Jim: garage assistant, 40’s
Finbar Mack: a local businessman late 40’s
Valerie: a Dublin woman 30.

3. Who is the single main character about whom the story centers?
Jack: is the main character. He undergoes the greatest change.
b. He is the talkative leader of the barflys, ‘old-school’ Irish,
c. devoted to the national beverage of Guinness.
d. Finbar: (foil for Jack) ‘get rich quick’ Irish real estate man, flashy, content to drink
e. the ‘last beer anyone would choose’ bottled Harp.
f. Valerie: incomer; city folk, drinks white wine; Brendan is flustered….Wine?
g. He finally finds a bottle he received as a gift.
h. When pouring her glass he fills it up as he would a pint.

4. How does the story get started?
The play opens on a stormy night in Brendan’s pub.
b. A rural Irish pub is located in an isolated town in County Leitrim.
c. Brendan, the owner of the pub, opens the bar, fills the till and checks the beer taps.
d. Jack and Jim (his regulars) are gathering for their daily pint.

5. Briefly describe the rising action of the story.
The action in the play is very subtle. The arrival of a stranger from Dublin city, a beautiful woman (Valerie). She has just rented an old house in the area.
The barflys want to impress her or perhaps scare her off (?) …with eerie stories about souls past, spirits present, ghosts and …half-haunted encounters. It is an authentic night drinking with locals who have the gift of blarney.

6. What is the high point, or climax, of the story?
a. 4: Valerie’s true story…(read the play and discover this for yourself!)

7. Discuss the falling action or close of the story.
After Valerie’s story the mood changes.
Jack’s talk with Brendan and Valerie is the last…..it is a confession.
McPherson bookends the play.
Brendan closes the bar.

 

Conclusion:

  1. This was my first one-act play.
  2. It should be tightly compressed, short,
  3. …with playing time max forty-five minutes.
  4. A single setting (pub) should be a ‘pressure-cooker play’.
  5. The energy should build up, ready to blow off the pan’s cover.
  6. This play is ninety minutes long on stage.
  7. The play felt like it was quietly simmering on the back-burner.

 

a. Weak point….but not really!

  1. No real conflict. But I’ve learned that play writing is NOT all about conflict.
  2. The power of the play derives from the
  3. power of argument in the dialogue.
  4. The story  about transition….people realize that their
  5. beloved village, rural life is becoming the thing of the past.

b. Weak point…but not really!

  1. I was looking for the ‘lilt of Irish humor, the
  2. …capacity to make rapid and irresistible remarks.
  3. In this play I only chuckled twice:
  4. at the beginning (defect beer tap) and
  5. at the end (who are the Germans, really?)
  6. Perhaps McPherson choses to embed the humor in gestures
  7. …..intonation of the voice that is impossible to relate to while reading a play.

c. Weak point….really!

  1. The play contains 3 ghost stories barflys tell each other
  2. that were not scary.

 

Last thoughts:

  1. This play does not come to life on paper.
  2. It….MUST have actors to relate the emotions in the dialogue.
  3. I read the play twice before making a conclusion.
  4. I want to see if I missed something

 

  1. The only way to really enjoy the play is to see a stage performance.
  2. Playwright’s task is to create stories that generate emotional responses.
  3. The rhythm of the language is as important as the words themselves.
  4. Conor McPherson uses the smallness of a tiny Irish village
  5. …in the service of bigness.
  6. He illustrates the difference between fading rural life
  7. …and the encroaching urban lifestyle.
2
Jun

#Play Waiting For Godot

 

Conclusion:

  1. Reading time: 1 hour 40 min
  2. Waiting for Godot  is theater of absurd.
  3. Beckett thought the audience
  4. …MUST feel what it is like to be in an ABSURD world.
  5.  Beckett used bizarre characters speak in what sometimes
  6. …appears to be illogical, banal, chit chat.
  7. One cannot read Godot for the story because there is no story
  8. Waiting for Godot does not tell a story
  9. It explores a situation….2 tramps..waiting for Godot.
  10. What are the abusrd characteristics?
  11. No plot, no recognizable characters, no beginnings no ends,
  12. …reflections of dreams and nightmares, incoherent babblings.

 

Last Thoughts:

  1. The only way to gain any insight is to
  2. read a summary before starting this play.
  3. I used this LINK at Free Online Dictionary website.
  4. This is an excellent summary.
  5. Waiting for Godot
  6. …left critics bewildered and is now a classic.
  7. Nr. 7 on List 50 Best Play in Past 100 yrs.
  8. I was absolutely dreading this play...
  9. Need #Heineken

 

 

 

 

29
May

#Play Noises Off by Michael Frayn

 

Introduction:

  1. The play has received two major Broadway productions and
  2. …numerous regional ones in the United States,
  3. United Kingdom, and  other countries in Europe and Asia.
  4. In response to its popularity, Frayn has continued to
  5. rewrite the play in the thirty years since he first wrote it.

 

Conclusion:

  1. For once a blurb has lived up to expectations
  2. …this is surely the funniest farce ever written!
  3. This play-in-a-play left me laughing out loud!
  4. Noises Off  (1982) by Michael Frayn.
  5. It is said to be one of the
  6. ...greatest comedies ever preformed on stage!
  7. Reading the introduction…and discover the first laugh!
  8. Prague: play performed without Act 3 for 10 years…
  9. NO one noticed until Frayn arrived for a show!
  10. The play is available on Kindle.
  11. Reading time: 2 hr 55 min
  12. Perfect poolside
  13. …reading this summer.
  14. #LOL

 

26
May

#Non-fiction August Wilson’s Pittsburgh Cycle

 

Introduction:

  1. August Wilson understood the power of the theater.
  2. He used it to its full potential by
  3. …inserting honesty and realism into every play.
  4. Some consider August Wilson “America’s Shakespeare”.
  5. August Wilson was an American playwright
  6. …who did the unheard of- penning ten plays.
  7. …one for each decade of the 20th C.

 

  1.  Wilson received two Pulitzer Prizes for Drama:
  2.  Fences (1987), The Piano Lesson (1990)
  3. These 10 plays gives a glimpse into
  4. …American history through the
  5. …lens of the Black experience.
  6. August Wilson’s Pittsburgh Cycle is a
  7. …series of critical essays about the plays.
  8. I have reviewed the first 5 essays
  9. …you can discover the rest of the book yourself!

 

Conclusion:

  1. Essays 1-6 were interesting
  2. Essays 7-13 …seemed to repeat many thoughts
  3. about two plays: Gem of the Ocean and Joe Turner’s Come and Gone.
  4. Weak point: the essays do  NOT explain all 10 plays
  5. One of the most famous play is Fences  NOT reviewed!
  6. It is considered  the African-American version
  7. ot The Death of a Salesman
  8. A few essays were very instructive about…
  9. Seven Guitars, The Piano Lesson, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
  10. ….but still feel  that the book
  11. does not live up to my expectations.
  12. #Disappointed

 

Plays:

 

Essays:

1. The  emancipated century – J.H. Scott  ( 2 plays discussed) – easy to read

  1. Play: Joe Turner’s Come and Gone 
  2. Set in 1911… the play is about African Americans cut adrift  by
  3. The Great Migration to the North and by slavery from their African past.
  4. The  characters meet in a boarding house
  5. They represent a cross-section of  African Americans.
  6. The boarders are  in the midst of a
  7. …massive search for their “song,” or identity.

 

  1. Play: The Piano Lesson
  2. Set in 1936…this is a …
  3. Family conflict between Bernice and her
  4. …brother Boy Willie about the family piano.
  5. For Boy Willie the piano is a way to get some quick cash to buy land. 
  6. For Bernice, the piano is a source of strength.
  7. It reminds her of the courage and endurance shown by her ancestors.
  8. Boy Willie looks to the future
  9. …while Bernice looks to the past.

 

2. Situated identity in The Janitor (J. Zeff):  short essay about a play that is NOT in the cycle.

  1. The Janitor is a 1985  4 minute play.
  2. A janitor is someone society ignores.
  3. He is left to sweep the floor.
  4. The janitor gets an idea.
  5. …sees a microphone in an empty hall
  6. …and just starts talking.
  7. Messageidentity is a work in progress which is in your control,
  8. “…but what you are now ain’t what you gonna become.”

 

3. Two Trains Running (S. Saddler, P. Bryant-Jackson) – This essay did not appeal to me. SKIM!

  1. This was a  comparison of two books by
  2. American scholars Living Black History, M. Marable and
  3. The Archive and the Repertoire, D. Taylor.
  4. Where is the play?
  5. I noticed they referred to the play
  6. Two Trains Running  but do NOT review this play at length
  7. …so I decided to skim this essay and
  8. …investigate the Pulitzer Prize 1992 play on Wikipedia.
  9. I learned more on Wiki…than in his essay!

 

4. World War II History (E. Bonds) – excellent essay,  I learned a lot about the difficult period just after WW II.  Black men struggle to move on after the war. They feel they are not benefiting from the post WW II economic boom.  They feel like…they are still fighting.

  1. Play: Seven Guitars
  2. Set in 1948…
  3. …The play begins and ends after the funeral of one of the main characters.
  4. Events leading to the funeral  are revealed in flashbacks.
  5. The essay explains the 7 characters (7 guitars) and their
  6. individual out-of-tune chords (life experiences).
  7. What I did not realize was how important the boxer
  8. Joe Lewis was for the African American community.
  9. Wilson uses Lewis’s fame and downfall as an essential part of the play.
  10. It is so sad to read that  African American GI’s were fighting
  11. …on two fronts:
  12. the enemy overseas….and racism at home.

 

5. Stereotype and Archetype in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (M. Downing) – best explanation difference stereotype vs archetype I’ve ever read.  Excellent essay, lucidly-written, logically-structured, and convincingly argued.

  1. Play: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
  2. Set in 1920s…the historic exploitation of
  3. black recording artists by white producers.
  4. The essay explains how August Wilson started with
  5. stereotypes assigned by whites to blacks in the play.
  6. Then he remakes them into archetypes.
  7. I would have missed this
  8. …completely by just reading the play!
  9. Wilson places the stereotype (ST) at the beginning of the play
  10. …adds monologues…adds POV of African American characters
  11. …draws the original ST (evokes criticism, suspicion, scorn)
  12. …into an archetype (evokes empathy, understanding, compassion)
  13. Example: Ma Rainey is introduced as
  14. ST: chaotic, unreasonable, difficult, a risk with the law
  15. Wilson breaks this ST into components and rebuilds Ma as
  16. AT: mother, queen, goddess
20
May

#20BooksOfSummer 2019

  • I just love this photo from last years’s post #20BooksOfSummer 2018.
  • I’m using it again because it always makes me smile and
  • …I have the urge to make a  Gin & Tonic !

 

Read:

  1. Glengarry Glen RossD. Mamet READ
  2. The Glass MenagerieTennessee WilliamsREAD
  3. Waiting for GodotS. BeckettREAD
  4. Twenty-First Century American PlaywrightsC. BigsbyREAD
  5. The Mueller Report READ
  6. Frederick Douglass: Prophet of FreedomD. Blight – READ
  7. Stamped From the Beginning I.X. Kendi – READ
  8. The New Negro: The Life of Alain LockeJ.C. Stewart  – READ
  9. The ArsonistC. Hooper – READ
  10. HimselfJess Kidd – READ
  11. August Wilson’s Pittsburgh Cycle (13 essays) – editor S. Shannon #20BoS – READ
  12. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?  – E. Ablee – READ  (play
  13. Noises OffM. Frayn – READ  (play)
  14. FencesA. Wilson – READ  (play)
  15. Streetcar Named DesireT. Williams – READ
  16. Blakwork – A. Whittaker – READ
  17. James Tiptree, jr. The Double Life Alice Sheldon – J. Phillips – READ 
  18. Ghosts of the Tsunami R. L. Parry READ
  19. Indecent (play) – Paula Vogel READ
  20. The Heart’s Invisible Furies – J. Boyne – READ
  21. The Coddling of the American MInd G. Lukianoff, J. Haidt – READ
  22. Astonished Dice – G. Cochrane (short stories) – READ
  23. We Can Make a Life – C. Henry – READ
  24. Seeing Yellow (poetry) – E. Bourke – READ  shortlist Irish Times Poetry Award 2019
  25. The Weir (1997) by Conor McPherson – READ
  26. The First CasualtyPeter Greste – READ
  27. Max HavelaarMultatuli – READ
  28. 100 Essays I Don’t Have Time to WriteS. Ruhl – READ
  29. These TruthsJill Lepore – READ

 

Using this list for #20BooksOfSummer….

#Challenge read 50 Best Plays in the Past 100 Years:     13/50

  1.  Death of a Salesman (1949) by Arthur Miller (Pulitzer 1949) – READ 
  2.  Streetcar Named Desire – T. Williams – READ
  3. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? E. Albee (Pulitzer 1963 READ
  4.  Long Day’s Journey into Night (1956) by Eugene O’Neill  – READ
  5. Fences – A. Wilson – READ 
  6. Angels in America: T. Kushner
  7. Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett – READ 
  8.  Pygmalion (1913) by George Bernard Shaw
  9.  A Raisin in the Sun (1959) by Lorraine Hansberry READ 
  10.  Our Town (1938) by Thornton Wilder
  11.  Six Characters in Search of an Author (1921) by Luigi Pirandello
  12. The Glass Menagerie (1944) by Tennessee Williams – READ
  13. Glengarry Glen RossD. Mamet – READ
  14. August: Osage County (2007) by Tracy Letts
  15.  True West (1980) by Sam Shepard READ 
  16.  The Iceman Cometh (1946) by Eugene O’Neill
  17.  Look Back in Anger (1956) by John Osborne
  18.  A View from the Bridge (1955) by Arthur Miller – READ
  19.  The Little Foxes. (1939) by Lillian Hellman
  20.  The Real Thing (1982) by Tom Stoppard
  21.  Master Harold and the Boys (1982) by Athol Fugard
  22.  The Homecoming (1965) by Harold Pinter
  23.  Ruined (2008) by Lynn Nottage (2009)
  24.  Mother Courage and Her Children (1941) by Bertolt Brecht
  25.  Six Degrees of Separation (1990) by John Guare
  26.  Doubt (2004) by John Patrick Shanley
  27.  Top Girls (1982) by Caryl Churchill
  28.  Present Laughter (1942) by Noel Coward
  29. Noises Off – M. Frayn – READ 
  30. Marat/Sade (1964) by Peter Weiss
  31.  The Lieutenant of Inishmore (2001) by Martin McDonagh
  32.  Machinal (1928) by Sophie Treadwell
  33.  The Norman Conquests(1973) trilogy by Alan Ayckbourn
  34.  The Bald Soprano (1950) by Eugene Ionesco
  35.  M. Butterfly (1988) by David Henry Hwang
  36.  The Dybbuk (1920) by S Ansky
  37.  Saved (1965) by Edward Bond
  38. Topdog/Underdog (2002) by Suzan-Lori Parks 
  39. The Front Page (1928) by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur
  40. Accidental Death of an Anarchist (1970) by Dario Fo.
  41. Picnic (1953) by William Inge
  42. Journey’s End (1928) by R.C. Sherriff
  43. The Odd Couple (1965) by Neil Simon
  44. The Orphans Home cycle – 3 one act plays by Horton Foote (masterpieces!)
  45. The Women. (1936) by Clare Boothe Luce
  46. What The Butler Saw (1969) by Joe Orton
  47. Awake and Sing! (1935) by Clifford Odets
  48. The Piano Lesson (1987) by A. Wilson
  49. Uncommon Women and Others (1977) by Wendy Wasserstein
  50. The Weir (1997) by Conor McPherson- READ

 

16
May

#AWW2019 Nakkiah Lui (playwright)

  • Author: Nakkiah Lui (1991)  Gamillaroi and Torres Strait Islander woman
  • Title: Black is the New White
  • Published: 2019 (book)
  • Opening night: 10 May 2017 Sydney Theatre Company
  • Genre: play (romantic comedy)
  • Trivia: Indigenous issues
  • Trivia: 2018 winner NSW Lit Award for Playwriting
  • Trivia: 2018 shortlist Victorian Premier’s Award Drama
  • List of Challenges 2019
  • Monthly plan
  • #AWW2019
  • @AusWomenWriters
  • @AllenandUnwin

 

Quickscan:

  1. Young couple Charlotte Gibson and
  2. Francis Smith are newly engaged.
  3. But their fathers are political rivals.
  4. The Gibson and Smith families gather for Christmas lunch.
  5. Unexpected guests, sudden self-realizations
  6. …and family secrets disrupt their meal.
  7. Themes: land rights, politics, relationships, identity, class.
  8. Question: What is it to be Aboriginal and middle class?

 

Structure:

  1. 7 scenes
  2. 8 characters:
  3. Engaged couple (20s)  Charlotte and Francis
  4. Their respective parents (50-60s) Joan, Ray, Maire and Dennison
  5. Daughter (nr 2) and son-in-law (30s) Rose and Sonny

 

Dialogue:

  1. To speed up the pace Nakkiah uses overlapping dialogue.
  2. The idea was to write dialogue
  3. …the way people really speak
  4. …so that characters cut off the
  5. beginnings and ends of each other’s sentences.
  6. Full revelation of emotions is transformed into comedy.
  7. At times it feels like community (scene 3-4-5-6)
  8. ….and at times like chaos! (scene 7)

 

References: 

  1. To give the play a very culturally modern feel we read about a
  2. virtual reality mask, twitter, Michell Obama, Hillary and Bill Clinton,
  3. Kim and Kayne Kardishan, Beyoncé and JayZ, Martin Luther King,
  4. Waleed Aly, Alicia Keyes,
  5. Netflix series House of Cards and the movie Cluesless.

 

Narrator:

  1. Lui uses a technique of the narrator to
  2. give the audience/reader the backstory.
  3. The narrator comments on action, adds insight
  4. …on characters, stage elements
  5. …developing a precise and complete character persona.

 

Conclusion:

  1. I will not reveal any spoilers
  2. …..the play should be read with a clean slate.
  3. You will enjoy the unfinished battles
  4. …in the character’s public and private lives!
  5. We follow the maze from character to character….
  6. …with the climatic scene 7
  7. …which includes 15 ‘bombshells’ of information!
  8. In Black is the New White (title revealed in scene 4)
  9. …you meet 8 characters  who
  10. challenge stereotypes of
  11. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
  12. With Nakkiah Lui’s  comic descriptions of
  13. their personal interaction and commentary
  14. …you have an unforgettable romantic comedy
  15. …and many life lessons.
  16. #MustRead   #MustLaugh
5
May

#AWW2019 Winner NSW Lit Award for Drama

Awards:

  • Triivia: 2019 Prize for Drama: NSW Literary Awards
  • Trivia: 2019 Prize for Drama: Victorian Premier’s Award
  • Trivia: 2018  Judges’ Award  Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting
  • Trivia: 2018 Best New Play at the UK Theatre Awards

 

Quickscan:

  1. The play centers on a young woman (Anna).
  2. She  has been medicated for a range of mood and
  3. behavioral disorders since she was a child.
  4. Now she wants to find out what
  5. ...her life would be like without pills.
  6. The play takes an unflinching look at
  7. mental illness and medication among young people.

 

What is the structure of the play?

  1. Act 1 (7 scenes) – reading time:  1 hr 30 min
  2. Act 2  (6 scenes) – reading time:        50 min

 

Cover:

  1. There are two book covers
  2. ….that convey different messages.
  3. Daughter: breaking free…carefree and in control of her life
  4. …after she chooses to stop her mental illness medication.
  5. Mother:  having spent years keeping her daughter safe
  6. …is powerless to stop her.

 

Daughter: Anna

Mother: Renée

What is the trigger in Act 1 ….something big at stake?

  1. Anna  suffers from mental
  2. ….heath issues (bipolar) since she was a child.
  3. In Act 1 she is 18 yr and decides
  4. …she wants to stop with her medication.
  5. This is a very scary decision she makes.
  6. It affects  everyone else around her.
  7. Her mother really struggles NOT to intervene.

 

What is the tension in the play?

  1. Anna has one desire…to stop medicating
  2. …and be in control of her life.
  3. The journey pursuing this desire forms the plot.
  4. The tension for the audience is
  5. the DOUBT that is aroused about Anna…
  6. “..will she or won’t she break free of the pills?”

 

  1. Strong point:
  2. Ms Feaver generates a subtext (stories of 8 yr girl)
  3. ….that she can play off of in the play
  4. The history of what has happened
  5. moments that refer to the character’s past.
  6. are very important part of the play.

 

  1. Strong point:
  2. The play is deliberately intimidating
  3. …about a girl in a sudden state of crisis
  4. …to raise awareness
  5. …about youth’s mental health issues.
  6. Ms Kendall has done extensive research
  7. and spoken to many psychiatrists.
  8. It took Kendall Feaver 5 years to finish the script.

 

  1. Strong Point:
  2. Title: The Almighty Sometimes
  3. …has intrigued me from the beginning!
  4. It refers to an option on questionnaires:
  5. Never – Always – Sometimes.
  6. Sometimes....Anna is troubled
  7. …but sometimes  she is
  8. …good, kind and capable.
  9. It is a hard choice a mother
  10. …must make when answering
  11. …questions about her daughter.

 

Conclusion:

  1. 2-Act structure is a simple.
  2. It looks at the character’s journey
  3. …in he clinical world living day to day
  4. with a mental health condition.
  5. There is a routine of life between
  6. mother and daughter that passes for existence.
  7. Frenetic activity is expressed in the
  8. …dialogue with boyfriend Oliver
  9. …and psychiatrist Vivienne.
  10. Later this gives way to many
  11. moments of silence between daughter and mother.
  12. Anna  is  pushed to the extreme
  13. …as her internal and external worlds explode.
  14. Act 1 may feel a bit too long…but keep reading.
  15. Act 2 is where the fireworks display starts!

 

Last thoughts:

  1. Mother-daughter relationships are complex.
  2. Some mothers and daughters are best friends.
  3. Some avoid conflict.
  4. Others talk through everything…
  5. not so  between Anna and Renée!
  6. Strong point:
  7. The best part of the play…
  8. …as Kendall Feaver  shows us a
  9. snapshot of real life with a protective mother
  10. …and a daughter who feels she’s been lied
  11. …to, misunderstood and mis-diagnosed!
  12. The Almighty Sometimes is best seen on stage
  13. where sparks will fly between mother and daughter.
  14. Reading the play is the only alternative I have
  15. ….but am probably missing the best part:
  16. …the actors performance!