Rick Viede, Griffin Award winning playwright, has been up in Brisbane with the cast and crew of A Hoax in their first weeks of rehearsal.
It’s been an exhilarating and hilarious time up in Brisneyland. The final stages of a new play’s development is a heady time. The idea gets fine filtered through the minds of twenty or so actors, creatives, and company personnel, which is twenty more minds than the humble writer’s paltry one. It’s scary AND amazing to watch your idea become a concrete complex reality. The first week I was doing massive days- up at 5.30 to do rewrites and tweaks before rehearsals started at 10. Thankfully the week was short (god bless Easter) and after only one cry (I’ll blame the jetlag) the script was locked off and I spent most of the second week in the bar (perfecting that other great writer’s talent!).
A Hoax has proved more biting and satiric, and more character based than I think I anticipated. It’s a more human story about four outsiders rather than some academic identity politics polemic. It’s been a great reminder: I really do prefer to tell stories about people (for all their complex contradictions) than to dry academic theorising.
Hearing the words come to life by such an experienced and talented cast has been a treat. Sally Mackenzie is a doyenne of the Australian theatre and I’ve loved the opportunity to tweak her bon mots – she plays agent extraordinaire Ronnie Lowe (who redefines the word bitch- I’m on standby if Sally feels not up for it one night). Shari Sebberns is a good mate and a real laugh- she’s fresh from shooting the Sapphires and is eating up the monster role of Currah- and make no mistake, Currah is a monster. Glenn Hazeldine and Charles Allen round out the cast- I’ve had long chats with Glenn connecting over our both once being naïve country boys (eating bacon for breakfast IS decadent!!) and I’ve supported Charles in his quest to find the exact drag diva his character Tyrelle would aspire to (he says Patti La Belle I say Gladys Knight.)
It’s been interesting to have Charles in the cast. It’s so rare we see a bona fide American alongside Australian actors and to witness that cultural exchange. I love watching the specificity of Charles’ understanding of some of the references for Tyrelle, references the Aussie public also will know of: Miss J from Top Model and Ru Paul.
The play is taking shape on the floor, everyone is working hard and two weeks in my job is pretty much done. Rather than distract everyone with my overt need to socialize I’m bowing out to leave the rest of the journey in Lee’s capable hands. I’m back for previews. I can’t wait to see this vicious little satire come alive.
“Abuse? She loves it. And so do we!”