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 "But what about the children?"

Playlab New-writing theatre is proud to announce their publication of Gaybies by Dean Bryant, originally commissioned and produced by Midsumma Festival, premiering at Sumner Theatre, Melbourne Theatre Company.



 

Hotly political and deeply personal, Gaybies shares the intimate real-life stories of children from same-sex parents, surrogate mums, donor dads, co parents and guardians. A funny and moving piece of real-life theatre Dean Bryant’s Gaybies tells the story of children who have grown up with gay parents. Drawn straight from interviews with children aged four to forty, these are authentic accounts of family life told with humour, honesty and wisdom.
 
 
"Gaybies came about because I wanted to explore one of the common reasons given for denying marriage equality: “What about the children?” I’d been to a 60th birthday party for a friend, which featured hilarious speeches from his daughters about growing up with a gay dad, and I smelled the potential for something that was about now without the earnestness that can drag political theatre down. I interviewed a ton of kids of all ages who’d grown up with a gay parent and shaped their words into this script. Midsumma produced the piece for their 25th anniversary, featuring a host of brilliant actors including icons Todd McKenney and Magda Szubanski, and it was a riot — funny, sad and brimming with love.  Gaybies works as a live experience when it is messy, real and raw. Gaybies is about the beauty of authenticity."  

- Dean Bryant


Reviews:
The kind of play that Australian playwrights and producers with a passion for social issues and politics should aspire to make, as well as the kind of play Australian audiences deserve to have the opportunity to see" Theatre People

“It is rare, almost unprecedented, to find homegrown political theatre with this degree of urgency and power on our main stages…It’s a strong text, effortlessly funny and wise, that speaks with many voices and one. Gaybies makes you realise how diverse the experiences of rainbow families are…terrifically funny and swift theatre” The Age (January 2013)

“The beauty of this work lies in its poignant simplicity, and the organic way all the interviewees have reached the same conclusion: don't use me to deny my parents their rights" Herald Sun (January 2013)

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Meet Merlynn Banner

MerlynnInterview


Professionally, what’s your goal?
My goal is to work full-time as an actor/ playwright who gets to create works and characters that make my heart sing! 


What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
It was a cheesy but really powerful one. I was 14-years-old and my mother has just been pronounced dead after suicide. I was at the hospital in a state of shock when an Acting teacher at the time, Faith, rang me. Her voice was a river of power and strength that I leant into—all consolations prior to that point seemed devoid of meaning, empathy and effect on me. Faith said to me in her husky voice, "This will make you stronger. I see you. You are strong. Whatever doesn't kill you will make you stronger." I know it's a cliché saying now but at that time of my life, those words kept me breathing.

What memorable responses have you had to your work?
After my previous one-woman-show, Ma Ma Ma Mad, which was about my mother's suicide and my attempt at it, I was approached by an audience member. My show was at Cybercity 2002: a Chinese restaurant, arcade and karaoke venue. We had a conversation amongst pool tables, fried rice and Canto-pop songs. Despite the chaos around us, we connected. Something incredible happened between us. By end of the conversation he held me, thanked me and told me that he was going to choose living. The implication of what he said hit me, hard. I went home and wept. If all the work for making that show was just for him, it would have been enough.  

What’s your favourite art work?
Too many to name. I yearn for works that make my world stop, demand I reconsider my preconceptions and move me so deeply I feel it in my bones. I lean a lot into visual art and music when I create.


What themes do you pursue?
I once heard that every work we create is us trying to tell the same story in a different way. That could well be true for me! I didn't quite choose these themes but my work seems to revolve around survival and thriving, awakening, sex, female power, Singapore as a country and concept, love and hope. 


How has your practice changed over time?
I'm really young in my practice. But I am definitely more focused now with a stronger belief that I can actually make shit happen. I am also diving deeper into the land of fiction, I'm falling in love with dialogues; my next play will be my first fictional multi-hander.

Why do you do what you do?
It's what my heart, body and soul demands. I just try to listen and follow their longings.
 
Bio:
Merlynn Tong is a Chinese Singaporean Actor and Playwright based in Brisbane, Australia. Some of her performances include Viral (2016, Shock Therapy Productions, Gold Coast Arts Centre), Straight White Men (2016, La Boite Theatre), Ma Ma Ma Mad (2015, Wonderland Festival, Brisbane Powerhouse), The Theory of Everything (2015, Brisbane Festival), The Wizards from Oz (2015, Taiwan, Taoyuan International Children’s Festival), Hot Brown Honey (2015, Judith Wright Centre), The C Word (2014, Dir: Todd MacDonald, Metro Arts), American Music Club (2014, Brisbane Festival), The Golden Show (2012, Japan, Dairakudakan Dance Group) and hosting Out of the Box Children’s Festival (2014, QPAC).
 
As a playwright, she has recently published two of her one-woman shows, Ma Ma Ma Mad (2015) and Blue Bones (2016). Ma Ma Ma Mad is based on the true story of her mother’s suicide and Blue Bones is a semi-auto biography of teenage romance as it blossoms in the bustling streets of Singapore and soon, combusts into a dynamo of domestic violence. Merlynn is currently working with Playlab and Playwriting Australia (Lotus Programme) to create her third play, Hot Wet Void, a sticky journey through the confessions of migrants living in humid Singapore.

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David Walter Blue Bar

In the lead up to the launch of Blue Bones by Merlynn Tong we're keen for everyone to get to know the all star team of creatives we have working to bring this story to life.  Meet David Walters the intellect behind our Lighting Design.



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Professionally, what’s your goal?
To be fluent in the language of light. 
 
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Allow curiosity to teach one how to ask the right questions.
 
What’s your favourite art work?
Not a specific art work but favourite artists would be Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Turner, Monet and Frida Kahlo.
 
What themes do you pursue?
As complete an understanding of life, art, science and the universe as my time on earth allows.
 
How has your practice changed over time?
A belief in my ability to judge my own work has freed me of a need to seek peer approval. A growing joy in assisting others to learn.
 
Why do you do what you do?
To find a way to codify the linguistics of light as beautifully as poetry and as precisely as the language of maths.

 

Bio:
For the past 40 years David Walters has worked as a professional Lighting Designer in Iceland and Australia. His work experience spans lighting designs for opera, theatre, ballet, dance, puppetry, circus, exhibitions, major events and architectural installations. From 1978 to 1986 David worked as a freelance lighting designer in Iceland where he is recognised as one of the pioneers in this field. In 1986 David returned to Australia to take up a position as Resident Lighting Designer with the Queensland Theatre Company. Since 1990, as a freelance designer, he has worked extensively throughout Australia and designed for the Melbourne Theatre Company, Sydney Theatre Company, State Theatre Company of South Australia, Handspan, Playbox, La Boite, Rock ‘n’ Roll Circus, Nimrod, Company B, Expressions, Queensland Ballet, Australian Ballet, Opera Queensland, The Powerhouse, Queensland Performing Arts Centre, Zen Zen Zo, Topology and Bell Shakespeare Company. His work has toured extensively both in Australia and overseas. He has lectured in lighting design at several universities and is currently an Adjunct Associate Professor at the Queensland University of Technology. Throughout his professional career David has maintained close ties with Iceland where he has worked for the National Theatre, the National Opera and the Reykjavik City Theatre

 

BlueBones Web V1

Book Now Button Blue Bones       4 13 May




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In the lead up to the launch of Blue Bones by Merlynn Tong we're keen for everyone to get to know the all star team of creatives we have working to bring this story to life.  Meet Neridah Waters the brilliance behind our Choreography.



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Professionally, what’s your goal?
My goal is to make exciting theatre.  I love working with other creative people that have a shared aesthetic and philosophy. I step into various roles depending on what the project needs. Whether that be as a actor, director, stage manager, dancer, choreographer or just an idiot in a leotard pumping up the audience.
 
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
At the end of the day it's 'a play'. Sometimes as artists we can take our work very seriously and get anxious and stressed. But at the end of the day it's not brain surgery, we're making art to inspire other people and the best art comes from the joy of play, even the most tragic stories.

Why do you do what you do?
Basically I do what I do because it makes me happy. And I'm good at it.
 

 

Bio:
Neridah Waters is a choreographer, performer and theatre maker. She trained as an actor at UWS Nepean then in Japan with Tadashi Suzuki and Frank Theatre. She has toured extensively across Australia and internationally including work in Belgium, The Netherlands, Canada, England and the USA with projects including Lala Parlour’s Tarnished, The Common People Dance Project and boy girl wall and is a founding member of The Brides of Frank, Lala Parlour and The Escapists. Her performance work includes Sacre Bleu with Queensland Theatre Company and The Dance of Jeremiah, The Year Nick McGowan Came To Stay, Attack of the Attacking Attackers! and Johnno for La Boite, Tashi for Imaginary Theatre and Railway Wonderland for NORPA. As a choreographer Neridah’s work includes: The Venetian Twins, The Cherry Orchard, Away, The Glass Menagerie and Show for Queensland Theatre Company and Boomtown, Under This Sky and The Isaac Project for Queensland Music Festival.

BlueBones Web V1

Book Now Button Blue Bones       4 13 May

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Nathan Sibthorpe Blue Bar

In the lead up to the launch of Blue Bones by Merlynn Tong we're keen for everyone to get to know the all star team of creatives we have working to bring this story to life.  Meet Nathan Sibthorpe the boy wonder behind our Video Design.



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 Professionally, what’s your goal?
To find the freedom to make work on artistic impulse. To make work that connects people. I love what David Foster Wallace says - for people to “become less alone inside”...
 
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
It wasn’t given to me, but -
“You are what you love, not what loves you.” -Donald Kaufman
 
What themes do you pursue?
For theatre, I pursue a sense of presence - for the work to dynamically exist with the audience. For the audience to feel allowed to ‘be there’ and for their attendance to hold significance. For Blue Bones, I think the act of sharing between Merlynn and the audience is its most exciting feature. We’re here gathered as a community to participate in an important act of storytelling.
 
How has your practice changed over time?
My tastes have gotten stranger over time. I’m less enthusiastic about everything, and more painfully passionate about certain things.

Why do you do what you do?
I say that I’m a theatre artist because I think I’d make a terrible dentist. But really this all just happened and I can’t figure out what else I’d do instead.
 
Bio:
Nathan Sibthorpe is a contemporary performance-maker and AV Designer. He was previously Queensland Theatre Company’s Geek-In-Residence in 2012-14; the Festival Director of Short+Sweet Queensland from 2013-16; and an Australia Council JUMP artist in 2012. Nathan is currently the Creative Director for Markwell Presents Cinematic Theatre Company, and the Co-Director of Counterpilot Transmedia Performance Collective.

As an AV Designer, notable credits include: Tyrone & Lesley in a Spot (Qld Cabaret Festival 2016); Viral (Shock Therapy Productions 2016); He Dreamed a Train (Brisbane Powerhouse 2014); and The Social Me (Artslink QLD, 2012). As a performance-maker and dramaturg, other credits include: This Is Capital City (Brisbane Powerhouse, 2015); Total Dik (Queensland Theatre Company, 2013); and Some Dumb Play (Metro Arts, 2012). Nathan teaches performance studies at QUT, where he holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts with distinction, and where he is currently undertaking a Masters Degree in contemporary performance.

BlueBones Web V1

Book Now Button Blue Bones       4 13 May

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Playlab New-writing Theatre is supported by the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland     

 

 

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