By Heidi Hendry
The Short+Sweet Theatre aim to develop and showcase excellence using the ten minute theatre form. Sponsored by West Darling Arts and in association with the Broken Hill Repertory Society Inc, the Short + Sweet Theatre expanded this year to include Broken Hill, NSW.
Locals were encouraged to be involved with writing, directing, producing, acting, stage management, lighting and sound.
5 ten minute plays were performed at Theatre 44 on Wills St on Friday 26th, Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th October.
Daydream Believer, written by Deb Hunt and directed by Marilyn Harris was set underground in the Daydream Mine. Set both above and below ground, the play made excellent use of the 2 sides of the stage to create the effect of distance. I was a bit distracted by the helmet shadow over the eyes of the three actors, but found the Tour Guide(?) warm and believable. Anthony & Cathy/Cookie interacted well as the arguing couple.
You Must Be One Since You Said It, written and directed by Leah Maj, wasa story of schoolyard bullying. The technique of having Leah (Ella Fobister) standing in the middle of the stage with the bullies walking behind throwing out their lines at her, while she fumed, was an excellent technique. I would have liked to see Ella further forward on the stage, and there was one interaction where she turned her back on the audience, which could have been choreographed differently, but I liked her emotional strength, and her fury was palpable. Eric (Ryan Baker) did not have many lines but I felt he was quite believable.
Clean Sweep, written and directed by Deb Hunt, was a clever and funny story of a principal and a janitor, but was really a story of power and where powere really lies. Clever stagecraft and positioning as well as excellent choice in cast produced a well delivered, very believable pas de deux. Anna Cannillas and Fred Peters can be proud of their performance.
The Artist in Residence written by Jason King, directed by Marilyn Harris, was my favourite. Excellent writing, well executed, humourous, and almost professional in its delivery. John Harris, as the Painter, engaged my attention from the moment the curtain opened. Marilyn Harris, as the First Buyer, conveyed a wry humour, and was clearly enjoying her role. The puns on the paint names produced a lot of laughter in the audience.
A Town On The Edge Of Sundown written and directed by Adelaide DeMain, used a completely different format to present a narrated story about Broken Hill. It definitely conveyed the essence of Broken Hill drawing in the various elements of life here. And a standout performance by AJ Bartley as Priscilla.
After the plays were done the awards were presented. Clean Sweep will be taken to Sydney to be showcased in the Short+Sweet Sydney festival, and each of the other 4 plays will be available for directing & performing in that same festival. Best Actor went to Fred Peters, Best Actress to Ella Fobister, Best Director to Marilyn Harris, and Best Play to Clean Sweep.
Overall, it was a lovely evening, and fantastic to see the talent that Broken Hill has to offer. I hope to see more of this calibre of work, and hope that the West Darling Arts will support more of this. I am eagerly looking forward to the next production.