To do a showing or not to do a showing!

To do a showing or not to do a showing!

Over the past few months, while writing the script of Les Mystères du Louvre, I was grappling with whether to do a second ‘work in progress’ showing. I had always thought that it would be a fabulous way of finishing off this latest creative development and also a way of thanking our donors and supporters. However, it’s a scary proposition putting a new work up for scrutiny and seeing whether scenes are robust enough to be presented to a live audience, and I vacillated for a long time.

During both creative developments, our emphasis had always been on developing a script that we hoped would be engaging and multilayered. We didn’t want the technology to be just an ‘add-on’ or an afterthought, but integral to the telling of this story. Eventually, I took the plunge and booked the theatre, and with crunch time looming on the horizon, decisions needed to be made. Two of the main decisions were whether to use any technology and, if so, how much to include, and whether to present the whole play, or selected scenes.

I ruminated over many weeks about what to show. A friend suggested a cold read with actors who had no idea or concept of what the piece was about at all. By not knowing the work, they couldn’t paper over the cracks as easily. Four actor mates generously gave up their time to delve into all aspects of the work, pointing out where parts could be made clearer, whether there was too much French language in particular scenes and what sections would be suitable for performance at this stage. It was very illuminating and I highly recommend! It was at this point, after another full rewrite, that I felt that the script, while not perfect, was reasonably solid. I decided on 3 scenes, two of which we had presented before and a brand-new scene. The first big hurdle had been overcome!

I had, over many months, toyed with the idea of doing some 3D projection but, as time was short, and the budget was becoming increasingly tighter, I put that on the back burner for a later date. It would be great to show some projection, but better to do it properly than rush it.

The two roles of the Tour Guide and the Mum were cast (amazing and fabulous Helen Hopkins and Damien Kenny) and Alison Richards took up the role of Dramaturg… and then we were away!

Les Mysteres du Louvre - Creative Development Part 2.

Last year, ReAction Theatre received its first grant from Creative Partnerships Australia to develop the script of 'Les Mysteres du Louvre.'  After what seemed a never ending stream of admin, we were finally able to take to the floor in March.

Carolyn Bock Myers and Paul Szymkowiak joined continuing collaborators Arta Mucaj, Alicia Beckhurst and Nath Sem for this development. We essentially focused on the character of Agnes, a character that we hadn't had time to focus on during the Arena residency. She was a cantiniere in Napoleon's army (a woman who cooked and served alcohol to the soldiers) but not just any cantiniere! She was one of a rare breed, by the end of the Napoleonic Wars, known as a "Volunteer of '92." She would have been one of the few women to step forward in 1792, when the war to protect the French Revolution first began.  Therefore, it feels important to honour this woman's legacy ironic as it is, as there is hardly any information about her. 

There were a number of scenes that we wanted to try to flesh out - Agnes preparing the food at the camp for Napoleon's soldiers; her life as a peasant near the French-Italian border: the first time she meets her future husband; her life on the battlefields of France; the day she boards the fateful frigate, The Medusa, on its way to Senegal and, lastly, her eventual murder. This scene, in particular, needed to ramp up! Julianne O'Brien (Windmill theatre Co) assessed our script leading in to this development and she had spoken at the Currency House Platform Paper Launch of not being afraid to go to 'dark places' in children's theatre. So, we experimented with making her murder much more graphic and violent.

There was passionate debate, loads of ideas, boundary pushing and incredible achievements! The script has taken a giant leap forward. It's on to another script assessment and more rewrites before we get into the tech.

Fringe is over - on with the next project..

Our Melbourne Fringe production of 'Appropriate Kissing for All Occasions' is over! It was such a great experience working on these pieces with uber talented writers David Finnigan and Isab Martinez and actors Laura McAloney, Erin Pattison and Christina McLachlan. So many highlights - working on a difficult script with limited finances and time, and seeing the beautiful work that could achieved. Having people so involved in a piece that they actually heckled our intimacy coach during her lecture. The audiences' vastly different reaction to the two different pieces. Dean, our lighting designer, finding a fantastic curtain upon which we could project the text (it may seem insignificant, but these things can make a big difference...) There's already a gaping hole that needs filling and snippets of future opportunities of what could be, but for now it's on with "Les Mysteres...." Budgets and timelines are underway and a second stage creative development is just around the corner...

It's been a busy few months...

ReAction Theatre was awarded a 'matched' grant through Creative Partnerships Australia for 'Les Mysteres du Louvre' in April, 2017. Part of the grant process involved a two day clinic where we were given extensive professional development in all types of fundraising - philanthropic, sponsorship and donations. This was very helpful and informative and, then, the fun began in earnest in June! We launched our campaign to raise funds with all monies raised being matched dollar for dollar by CPA. The fundraising was very successful and we are thrilled that LMDL will have a second stage creative development in the near future. You can read more about this on our 'Work in Progress' page on this website..

Over the past few weeks, I've also been working with three very talented actors  - Erin Pattison, Christina McLachlan and Laura McAloney - on two beautiful and enigmatic pieces by this year's Griffin Theatre Award winner, David Finnigan. We are really excited to be presenting these under the title 'Appropriate Kissing for all Occasions' at the Melbourne Fringe this year. You can read more about these performances hereTickets go on sale 10th August 2017 here.

Our new website is finally live. Watch this space for updates about our upcoming productions....