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SUM WHA

2017 Edition Digital Downloads: Summer Wonderland + Chasing The Whale

PLB2017 SummerWonderland 13JUL17Summer Wonderland began its life back in 2006. After a meeting at La Boite Theatre Company, I was trying to come up with an idea that would meet their request — “Bring new audiences to La Boite.” 

It was a trip out to see the annual Christmas lights that gave me the answer. Street after street of houses, covered in lights and decorations, celebrating a time of year when we let magic take over for a while. But there was something else. Owners would sit in chairs on their driveway, or cook sausage sizzles on their lawn. They would watch the smiling crowds walk by, looking for a response to their creation. 

Here, deep in the suburbs, an artistic exchange was taking place. Here the very idea of home was art. 

The La Boite production was a huge success, extending its season to meet demand. But it was what happened afterward that surprised me the most. 

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Requests started coming in from community theatres across Australia and New Zealand to perform the play. A play that spoke to their own sense of place. Their own experiences. Their own homes. 

Summer Wonderland has changed a lot over the years. Like a person, a play gathers a better sense of itself over time. I’ve made cuts and strengthened journeys. But always in the spirit of the original idea — that no matter who we are or where we’re from, we’re all in some way going home. 

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Chasing The Whale began its life back in 1999 when a strange image popped into my head. A man in a suit being chased by a desk. 

Intrigued, I began unpacking a story out of that image. 

I’ve been doing it ever since. 

The first version was performed at the Australian Theatre For Young People, directed by David Berthold. The second was at La Boite Theatre Company, directed by Sean Mee. Both were called The Dance of Jeremiah (a name I later abandoned), though they shared little in common. And what it is now is different as well. 

ShopNow WhaleTime and time again, I’m drawn back to this play. The central idea remains the same. The tired man, damaged by ambition, haunted by his creations. Yet every time it shifts and changes, absorbing who I am now. Ideas that once worked fall away and new ideas grow in their place. Over and over. Coming and going, like waves on the shore. 

I’m certain I’ll never be done with it. I’m sure it’s waiting for me down the road, ready to reflect who I’ll be when I get there. 

But here it is now. Here I am now. 

Still chasing the whale.

 - Matthew Ryan  


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Playwright In Residence Bar

Playlab’s Young Playwright-in-Residence program is a year-long mentorship for one young Queensland based playwright who is offered: dramaturgical support from our Playwright-in-Residence Kathryn Marquet, professional guidance from Playlab’s Artistic Director Ian Lawson and access to Playlab’s resources.


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Meet Hannah Belanszky our 2017 Young Playwright-in-Residence, during her time at Playlab she will be working on a text that answers the universal questions, ‘Where did I come from?’ and ‘Where am I going?’. 

To learn more about Hannah and the work that she is doing check out this interview:


What compels you to write?

I am compelled to write often by things I read, overhear or observe, people I know and stories I am told. It is through writing that I can try to make sense of the world that I am living in. I find it a challenge at times to appear present in some situations because I am mentally writing it all down! I think it all comes down to a need to communicate and share in experiences. I love to talk…most people who’ve met me will agree it is difficult to get me to stop once I’ve started…yet writing has become a welcome refuge in my life as another form of storytelling and expression.  

What has stood out to you so far from your meetings with Kathryn?

So far, our focus has been on the importance of being clear and specific about every single detail of the play. I’ve always had the tendency to just jump in and write scenes without knowing where they are even going (often scrapping them later when they aren’t right!) I’ve learnt that whilst organic, spur of the moment creation is wonderful and has its place, it definitely goes hand in hand with planning. In the end, this process will save time and ensure the scene is focussed and has a purpose in the larger scheme of the play. I am so grateful for the opportunity to work with Kathryn. I am loving being able to meet with another writer to discuss and develop a new play… as we all know, writing can be quite an isolating task! 

What is your favourite artwork?

When asked this question, I can’t not say my mother’s artwork because I know too well the back stories to the paintings she produces and the hard work that goes into her creative practice. Her contemporary Indigenous artwork: bold and magical, is important to me for it is a reflection of her, a person who never fails to inspire and support me. I think she is a rare person for she is so unabashedly herself. She is the ultimate dream-chaser!

What do you as an artist stand for?

When given the platform for your voice to be heard (or read) by others, I believe artists are obliged to be truthful, to use their voice wisely and to take the chance to say what everyone is thinking but not necessarily saying out loud. As an artist, but also just as a human being, I strive to be as genuine as possible. I think if you truly care about something and are really passionate about it, other people will connect with that honesty. It is the artist’s job to be observant, to break from the comfort of their private bubbles and to engage with the world around them. On a personal level, I believe it is my responsibility as an artist to always be working on my craft so that I am constantly growing while improving the quality and the boundaries of my work. I figure if something makes me nervous or a bit uncomfortable, I am probably on the right track! 

What’s your background?

I decided when I was six that I wanted to be an actor while watching The Sound of Music on stage, green with envy of the young girls performing.  I was very interested in writing short stories and poetry as a child but it didn't cross my mind until years later when I was completing my actor training that I would ever write for the stage. I was reading a lot, looking for monologues and audition material, and I found myself craving something outside of the repertoire of popular monologue choices. I was finding it quite difficult, as a young woman, to find many meaty characters in my age range. This started me thinking about writing my own material. I think my background as an actor definitely helps when I am writing as I consider how an actor might approach the text and whether I am leaving just enough clues for them. 

What art do you most identify with?

I enjoy reading journals as they are so personal. In particular, I really connected with the diaries of Anais Nin and was inspired by them to start journalling myself, which more or less lead to my playwriting. I started by writing whenever I was in any kind of heightened state because I felt that whatever came out would be uncensored. I was interested in what my language choices would be like when I wasn’t premeditating what I was going to write next.  What I love about the diaries of Anais Nin is how she can find meaning and passion in every single moment of her life, even the seemingly mundane. I definitely identified with her analytical nature. It was also interesting to read her journals as an accompaniment to her stories and essays, for their insight into her process as a writer and how her personal life was feeding into her work.

I love nothing more than sitting in some kind of moving vehicle and staring out the window while listening to music as my mind wanders. I find music a very powerful tool when I am writing and also performing for getting in the right headspace. 

Professionally, what’s your goal?

My goal is to be writing and performing in my own work on a professional level. I want to be involved in the creation of a piece as well as the performance of it but would love to be commissioned to write for others as well. I am interested in venturing overseas to train further at some stage. My aim is to keep moving, learning, feeding my soul and being challenged by the new and unfamiliar!


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Discovering New Works Just Got Easier!

Playlab Indie, is a digital collection designed to bring together under one banner, new work that has debuted in the Australian independent theatre sector creating, over time, a go-to collection of quality, innovative work.

We believe that it is incredibly important to be constantly familiarising and engaging ourselves with the freshest works being produced. So, to make finding the perfect new play even easier we’ve done two things. Firstly we’ve dropped our prices, every Playlab Indie publication can now be downloaded for only $9.95. Secondly, we’ve updated our product pages to include: samples of the text, production images, and numerous reviews so that you can get an in depth picture of the core of the work.

We hope that you enjoy submerging yourself into Australia’s independent theatre sector.

Check it out

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Introducing the New Perspectives bundle

Our collection of new contemporary plays representing fresh, young voices that reflect the diversity and politics of contemporary Australia. 

Previously priced at $71.85 you can now grab all three works for $54.95.

Only available for the month of August in 2017.

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To celebrate the addition to our catalogue of Premier Award Winning titles RICE by Michele Lee and OEDIPUS DOESN'T LIVE HERE ANYMORE by Dan Evans we're offering 50% OFF all previous QPDA winning plays in our collection.

That means these stellar texts are only $11.95!!!

Trollop by Maxine Mellor  (2012/13 Winner)

Screen Shot 2017 06 28 at 1.41.46 pmClara is uncomfortably numb. Cocooned in her spartan home, she wallows in tracky-dacks and the misery of the recently jobless, feeding on apathy and the images of natural disaster piped into her living room by the pitiless glare of the TV.

Clara is haunted by what she could aspire to if she could break from her funk. Her relentlessly upbeat partner Erik has devised a plan for her to get back on her feet. Instead, she devises a series of increasingly gruesome ‘quests’ for him.

Then, one stormy night, a stranger calls – and the chinks in the pair’s relationship begin to widen. Uncomfortable truths are revealed and there are hints of horrors to come, as ancient myths are dragged, growling, into the modern day.

The winner of the 2012/2013 Queensland Premier’s Drama Award, Trollop is a complex, uneasy and challenging work that both explores and exploits contemporary communication modes.

 



Fractions by Marcel Dorney  (2010/11 Winner)

Screen Shot 2017 06 28 at 1.42.57 pmIn Fifth-Century Egypt, Alexandria – Alexander the Great’s namesake city – has ambitions to be the most powerful city in the world. And knowledge is power. The great Library of Alexandria houses the collected wisdom of the world – science, mathematics, astronomy, and literature. One of its greatest scholars and inventors is Hypatia – a woman ahead of her time in a man’s world. She’s revered for her devotion to the search for knowledge. But the power politicking of one man, Kyril, starts a holy war in the city, which threatens to destroy the great library. Hypatia must find a way to protect it – and prevent civilization from sliding into the Dark Ages.

This thrilling play is based on the real-life events of one of history’s most remarkable unsung heroines.

 

 

 




25 Down by Richard Jordan  (2008/09 Winner)

Screen Shot 2017 06 28 at 1.44.41 pmIn a world that’s lost all meaning, 25-year-old art school dropout James is searching for answers. To uncover the truth about himself, James embarks on a mission to become everything he’s not. But when all-nighters at gay bars, drug use and sex fail to provide what is missing, will James accept that life is all downhill after 25? Winner of the 2008-2009 Queensland Premier’s Drama Award, 25 Down is a fast-paced, funny and insightful play about the ‘children of ’ the children of the revolution.

 

 

 

 

 







 

The Estimator by David Brown  (2006/07 Winner)

Screen Shot 2017 06 28 at 1.47.15 pmMartin is an estimator for a removal company, trained to help people with the nightmare that is moving house. But no amount of preparation could have prepared him for his latest job ...

Yonni and her granddaughter Sharday share a junk-filled home in the suburban outskirts. Their lives revolve around poetry, acting, singing and rhetorical questions. Knowing the life they live is far from healthy, Yonni’s daughter Karen calls in the help of an Estimator. But once they meet, their lives will be changed forever.

 

 










Mano Nera 
by Adam Grossetti
  
(2004/05 Winner)

Screen Shot 2017 06 28 at 1.50.17 pmIn the 1930s, letters of extortion were written to the migrant Italian community in North Queensland’s cane growing districts. Mano Nera – the ‘black hand’ – was the name of the group claiming responsibility for the letters. But was Mano Nera a slick criminal organisation, or simple-minded thugs?

Either way, Mano Nera instilled fear that divided the community. Australians argued for the deportation of the Italian migrants. While the Italian community, who had bravely fled political oppression and a fast deteriorating society to make North Queensland their home, faced a choice. Would they put up with their reputation being sullied by the actions of Mano Nera’s desperate men? Or would they flight for the privileges their adopted country could offer?

Mano Nera richly evokes the tense stand-off between the British authorities and a divided Italian community desperately trying to make the most of its hard-won freedom.

 
 

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Playlab is supported by the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland     

 

 

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