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On the Clock

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As the MICF circus wraps up, 2 clowns sent it off with a bang.

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The afternoon show at ACMI was the icing on the Festival, after a series of ‘Stand up’ wit and profound observations we discover a new territory. These Guys have nothing to say, it’s what they do that suspends reality and slaps you in the face. Throughout  the performance the unexpected continued to surface from beneath the banal.

Confused? Good , that’s a great start.

You will be bewitched within a Dadaists performance of an office mundane that imploded into the wild and creative instinct of lifes little dramas. Bit by bit they shatter through reality to reveal a seething internal existence with comic twists.

Intrigued? I hope so, it is an intriguing experience.

No matter how sober you think you are, they will pick up your solid piece of reality and twist it until you feel entirely happy. Like an animal can become a chair, a thing can become an animal. They are very clever Consultation Specialists.

Welcome to Ruck’s Leather Interiors starring Gareth Grubb (Trygve Wakenshaw) and Dennis Chang (Bernie Duncan) as Performance Artists.

Bernie Duncan

FullSizeRender-20 Where did you Guys train? MP

“I didn’t do training but Ttygve went to Gaulier, a French Clown School in Paris.”

How did you get into this? MP

“I always made theatre, we started a Company (Theatre Beating) about 14 years ago, and we made stuff we liked”

Audience Responce

“I never dreamed that I would ever see two people entertain me from the time they started right up until the very end. Everything that happened was totally unexpected , it shocked me, it was so funny and you never knew what was coming and everything that came was brilliant.”

Shafar on fire in Jewish-ish

MELBOURNE INTERNATIONAL COMEDY FESTIVAL review

Michael Shafar held his own at the momentous Trades Hall, that scrubbed up nicely, awash in neon for the MICF 2017.

Shafar is an eclectic blend of cultural experiences that have shaped and unshaped him. He is sorta Jewish, sorta Aussie,sorta cool, sorta nerd, sorta serious but definitely funny. His shows are selling out because the word is out, Shafar ‘nailed it’ this year.

Shafar examines his Jew-ish-ness with perplexed wonder. His grandfather was a Holocaust survivor and its more the ‘religousness’ than the faith that is up for review. He has a wealth of material to draw from that keeps the audience in stiches through out the performance. The crowd loved him and there was a reluctance for the show to end

MICHAEL SHAFAR is Jewish-ish at TRADES HALL Mar 30-Apr 23 8.30pm (no Wed & 7.30 on Sun)

An interview with Michael Shafar

“I used to encounter a lot of anti-Semitism when I was playing football for my Jewish school. I played from the ages of 12-16 and it was interesting and sad to encounter kids making anti-Semitic comments. I’m interested in whether those kids actually understood what they were saying, or if they were just repeating taunts that they had heard from their surroundings.”

How do you feel about your performance this year?

So far I’ve been really happy with the shows. I’ve changed up a lot of the content since I last performed it in Perth and have also changed the overall structure to make the theme about being culturally Jewish a lot stronger. I think it’s definitely working better now.

What type of reaction have you experienced from Jewish-ish?

So far the reactions have been great. A lot of people have messaged me to let me know they enjoyed the show. It’s interesting to me how different people tweet different jokes to me from the show, so it’s nice that there are a lot of different jokes in there that people remember and relate to.

What has been your most profound experience? MP

“The Comedians I met in the US were young, emerging comics who taught me a lot about work ethic. In the US, comedians are often gigging 15 times per week, which is why their development is accelerated. I tried to absorb that work ethic as much as possible so I try to gig as much as possible around Melbourne.”

Do Comedians support each other?

“Whenever there is a controversy about something that a comedian has said or done, comedians tend to help each other through it.”

Is MICF different for you this year?

It’s different because it’s my first solo show, so it’s definitely a lot busier than any other year. I also need to manage my time a bit better than previous years, making sure I still get enough sleep, eat well and exercise (which I have failed to do for the first few nights, so hopefully I get more disciplined!)

Captain Australia

Melbourne Fringe 2016

Matt Stewart is ‘DRY’ at the Courthouse.

In the small ‘Attic’ of the Courthouse Hotel, Stewart warms up the crowd with off-beat humour and cultural observations.

He quickly builds a strong rapport with the audience. The jokes are uniquely Australian and as the room laughed loudly throughout the performance; a couple of overseas visitors looked on perplexed. His humour  is based on shared experiences that create a ‘party’ experience, as everybody ‘is in’ on the joke.

Stewart’s ‘lay-back’ demeanour and monotone delivery puts the crowd at ease, as his eyes search out his next sidekick. He opens the floor and allows a degree of improv, exacting sharp timing as he tosses a clever slip of irony back into the fold.

No Aussie performance can ignore the ‘heart of darkness’ of our vast continent and he does touch of some uncomfortable satire which is inserted between playful wit. He is a genuine comic, the type that other comedians would go to watch.

You will laugh so hard that your face will ache.

 

“I like him in general; his tone, the dryness, the way he comes across…his delivery” Mike Barnes Comedian*

 

Matt Stewart ; 2014 Raw Comedy Winner            At the Courthouse Hotel, Nth Melb

Sept 26 -Oct 2

Review by A Forward

*Mike Barnes; Comedian and Manager of The Tickle Pit (Melbourne Fringe) @ Fancy Hank’s  

Coppelia in St Kilda

Coppelia may be as ‘pretty as a picture’ but she has no soul, to live she will need to suck the life out of Franz. Swanilda is his true love, but her passion startles the young man who would prefer his ideal. Fortunately she is persistent.

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It’s a dance off. Swanilda can out dance her peers and Franz is more talented than his, it’s a ‘match made in Heaven’ but fate has a turn. Before the two amazing movers are joined, (which could lead to a standing ovation) evil raises his ugly head in the guise of a mad magician.

It’s a three-part play, with a haunting centre. Some toys can be very intimidating, some boys can be very threatening and some girls can be very curious. It makes great drama, within a comic text. It was the ballet that saved itself.

‘ the plot reads like a modern horror movie, Saint-Leon’s production was a clever commentary on the dangers of infatuation. When the ballet finally opened in Paris in May 1870 it seemed. with its freshness and vitality, as if the art had been reborn in France.Judith Steeh

It was the ballet revival that kept the flame alight in Europe, until the Ballet Russes set it ablaze. Essentially it was designed to excel the ballerina for the delight of its male patrons (like Degas) but was modernised by Ogilvie. The male parts that were performed by ballerinas, were handed over to men and choreographed into the leaps and athleticism, that it is today. It is beautiful ballet with amazing dancing.

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Dimity Azoury as Swanilda & Jarryd Madden as Franz at Saturday Matinee

‘We are delighted to bring back this production, which has long been considered a jewel of The Australian Ballet’s repertoire,’ David McAllister ,Artistic Director

The Palais adds ambience of this period piece, it was first performed on its stage in 1962. The charm of another era resonates through the Saturday matinée, the wood paneling, marble columns, leather seats and ‘cash only’ bars and kiosks. It’s beautiful to walk out its doors and believe the world has not changed on the St Kilda Esplanade.

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Take the journey into enchantment.

 

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Sept 23- Oct 1

I did it my way

Simon Taylor does a ‘bunch of cool stuff’ at the Butterfly Club on a crisp winters night. His CV sums up the order of things.

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  • Born
  • 5 years old: Elvis impersonator    
  • 12 years old: break dancer
  • 18 years old: rapper
  • 19 years old: poet
  • 20 years old: magician
  • 21 years old: improviser
  • 22 years old: comedian
  • 27 years old: singer
  • Present: all of the above

No-one can look so sorted in a suit without a stylist to flat lay his wardrobe.

“A lot of my craft as an entertainer came from doing shows at The Butterfly Club. It’s where I learned to connect with an audience. It’s where I learned to present myself as a showman. It’s where I learned to be grateful to the people who helped make the show possible. It’s where I learned to be humble. It’s also where I discovered that I look AMAZING in a suit.”

He is a gentleman comedian who can pull ‘a’ Dove out of thin air. A warmth emanates throughout the performance, a romantic with an edge.

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What are your thoughts on the medium of comedy, is it to carry a deeper exploration of society or do you prefer the wacky? MP

“Neither. I just like to induce the chemicals in people’s brains that make them feel happy.”

This is what Simon does. In a cynical world he is not; so much.

Simon is a ‘stand-up’ that takes the audience into the intimacy of his daily life. Simon is a singer with a great voice. Simon is a very clever magician. Simon is a poet hoping to evoke. I don’t think Simon can rap or breakdance as it wasn’t in the show, but Simon said he could.

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Flesh Eating Tiger

Flesh Eating Tiger by Amy Tofte

with brilliant performances by Amy Gubana and Marcus Molneux.

“I hate this f-king play”the actor roars; chaotic in self hate and desire. Its a vicious cycle, a play within a play.

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“I love you” she pleads, imagining her only reflection is through his eyes.

The stench of sweat and loves final battle breaks out in front of the audience that stare like children, watching the horror of substance fueled passion. Despite the abstract fury of the torn lovers, the play is built on a tight structure and examines the cult of alcoholism.

It is a brutal contemporary play, with a brilliant script and prize acting, the direction has an expanding boundary, webbed together with invisible threads.

Its not serious.

Its just physical.

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I can end it whenever I want.

WRONG!

“I want out!”

He is addicted to alcohol, and she is addicted to rejection.They want to be abused. They don’t want surface beauty, they want to wrestle the beast beneath.

“I heard about stupid people like this I didn’t know, I would be one.”

Love without a boundary, is life without rest.

This drama explores complex emotional themes that are part of the contemporary fabric of human life. It explores desire and it’s not pretty.

 

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The Owl and the Pussycat is the go to place for  serious artistic exploration.

imageThe Director Gabrielle Savrone, explains her involvement with the production.

“Flesh eating tiger is a bit of a beast, it’s an abstract art piece. I’m an Abstract painter so I see the play like that. There’s the words,the actors and the design…the concept is how things bleed between life and art. You create what you live and its a part of who you are.

She’s addicted to him and he’s addicted to alcohol.Its a tangled mess. What we are watching is their relationship, the play that they are creating about their relationship within a play. It’s quite fun.Essentially it’s a love story, a tragedy.”

How did you get involved in the project? MP 

“I met Amy (Tofte)at a conference in Alaska three years ago,we were room buddies. I went to watch her play reading, it was this and I fell in love with it. When I took over the theatre, nearly two years ago,  this was the first play we put on.”Savrone

Actor Braydon Lewtas extends himself to assist in the Direction of the production.

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Assistant Director Braydon Lewtas

“The Artistic Director, Thomas Doyle cast me in the two previous plays that were shown at the theatre; Paper and Boys Club. I always wanted to be a Director, so I expressed that to the owner of the theatre, Gabrielle”Lewtas

“I’d like to write and direct and put on my own play in the future.”

The small bohemian venue is a hub of creativity, the friendly barman is Doyle, the Artistic Director and struggling play writer. He wrote the script for Paper which took a stab at modern media and corrupt journalists. His play Riot went to The Last Frontier Conference in Alaska.

“I like provocative material, work that provokes people and is also entertaining. I wrote my first play when I was eight. I thought I wanted to be an actor but then I realised that playwriter’s have all the power. ” Doyle

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Artistic Director Braydon Lewtas

 Amy Tofte Playwriter of Flesh Eating Tiger

Amy was recently recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences with a 2015 Nicholl Fellowship in screenwriting. Her plays have been semi-finalists for the nuVoices Festival (Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte), Kitchen Dog Theatre’s New Works Festival, The Source Festival and The Princess Grace Playwriting Fellowship. Flesh Eating Tiger premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and in Melbourne in 2015. Tiger was remounted at the Hollywood Fringe where it was named “Best of Fringe” and nominated for Best Play. Tofte is a founding member of the play development company Fierce Backbone in LA and is a proud member of The Dramatists Guild.

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Until June 4 at

The Owl and the Pussycat

Swan St.  Richmond

 

Review & photography by April Forward

 

 

 

 

I (honestly) love you.

I (honestly) Love You at The National 

REVIEW

Have you ever been on a date from Hell and loved it?

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There are three members in this relationship, him her and the ‘vicious truth’. The great accident of love has a few battles to get through, before the home run. The first awkward encounter is to meet the parents and then the friends. 

The show digs into the trenches, of love for the long-term, despite its personal cost. 

“She plays netball …I have to go to every F******* game”

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The play explores the sharp cut of truth in a dishonest world. How can we hold down a relationship or job, if the real shatters our delusions? It’s a clever script that breaks down the comfort zones, with large slaps of humour.

“It was very entertaining, the humour was quite witty and unpredictable….I laughed most of the way through it” John (audience)

“I loved the energy that the actors had, the sound effects, audience involvement and the six part bit.” Gilly (audience)  

“An interesting insight into relationships and how hard we try to make everyone around us happy when in doing so it actually makes everyone, including ourselves unhappy ……interesting.” Alannah (audience)


Interview with Damon Lockwood.

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“I wondered if being able to tell the truth to your partner at all times would be the answer to the perfect relationship, and this play is the result.”

What keeps you honest (honestly)? MP

‘The new app that allows my partner to know where I am at all times, by where my phone is at. Once again, thank you technology.’

Why did you choose this show? What’s the story behind it?

‘I didn’t go to the best of schools as a child, so when I ran into an old school friend and he reminded me of a truly filthy joke we used to tell each other in Grade 4, something about Pinocchio being honest in the toy box, the idea for the play sprang into my head and the script flowed out of me. Crappy education has given me so much…’

What is your main talent? MP

‘I keep striving to make my main talent writing …you can’t polish a turd’… delightful, but so apt when it comes to creating great theatre. So I am saying I would like writing to be my main talent but it really is a life-long path.

Also, I make a seriously good omelette.

What are the ingredients to a great show?

A good script helps a lot, like, a lot. For me, a show that deeply considers the audience’s enjoyment and not just their ‘luck’ at witnessing some supposed brilliance on stage I feel is also important. Great actors don’t hurt either, and did I say a great script I think is really important?’

What impressed you about the Edinburgh Festival?

‘The sheer scale of the thing was redonkulous, but the Perth Fringe Guide is beginning to have eerily similar weight and look to it as the Edinburgh one.

The energy on the back streets is electrifying. The main press event was hilarious, where you line up for an hour and a half to speak to a journalist for three minutes who already has tickets to La Soiree on the one night they might have been able to come to your show.

It’s true, Scottish people truly are waterproof – they can stand in the rain and simply not get wet! Survival mutation born from centuries of damp weather, I guess.

What do you imagine your future to be? MP

Man, that is a heck of a question! Seeing as there are no jobs in the theatre in Perth … then I’m pretty excited about a long career in bus driving. And I’ll always write, I think, I do love the endless bloody tangle with the blank page and those concrete words that sometimes glow.

What keeps you motivated? MP

‘I think the joy I receive creating work that allows audiences to witness other great actors ply their trade is very rewarding. There are so many talented actors out there who through bad timing or sheer dire fate don’t get the opportunities they deserve. At least this way I am able to give them an impressive 11% cut of the door takings’

What are the ingredients for a great relationship?

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‘… in all extreme  likelihood I will never be a relationships counsellor, I would say… who knows?

Maybe a couple that complement each other perhaps, so that between the two of you there’s a fighting chance you may have all the aspects of this life thing somewhat covered (like I do all the cooking and cleaning and gardening and my partner can answer the door when there’s some delivery guy there that I can’t handle making small talk with)?

And great sex. Oh, and honesty! Of course, yes, honesty, on all things… some things… on some most things… … … sometimes…’

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I (honestly) Love You has played at Edinburgh Fringe and New York Fringe achieving great reviews. The show has Melbourne actors, Jimmy James Eaton and George Gayler in the lead roles with Damon Lockwood is the playwright and director (his show HorseHead was on at La Mama in 2014).

Venue: The National Theatre

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13 – 16 April 2016
7.30pm
Tickets: $25
Bookings: http://www.nationaltheatre.org.au

 

 

 

 

 

Ballet Dreaming

Alexei Ratmansky’s

Cinderella

When clothes do matter! Cinderella is the ‘It girl’ of the season. Even without a mother, there is the godmother to provide a night out on the town. The wicked sisters may lack the talent, taste and kindness of their rival sister but their comic timing is perfect.

Halaina Hills & Ingrid Gow. Photography by Jeff Busby
Halaina Hills & Ingrid Gow. Photography by Jeff Busby

The costumes are a remarkable stroke of insight. They communicate a large hunk of the tale. Ballet has no voice; the palette is made up of dance, drama, costume, score and set. The show is catchy with a surrealistic bite, re-told with a modern edge.

No one has moves like the Prince (Ty King Wall). The magnetic duo are drawn together when Cinderella (Lana Jones) ‘steals the show’ and sets the tone at the ball. The twisted sisters are deliciously offbeat.

There is nothing like a dance story told by a dance company, frock them up and send them to a Ball. This is why you should go! The dancing and Alexei Ratmansky’s choreography  is a visual delight.

Cinderella is an interesting fairytale to re-visit; it carries life lessons in a purse of simple context. Jealousy is unable to suppress the hopeful soul. When humans fail, the stars align to aid her journey and her destiny.

The Dream

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As the full moon hangs heavy over Melbourne skies, another moon and another season, the ‘Midsummer Night’, takes flight in the deep chambers of the Art Centre, on the opening night of The Dream.

Enter into the enchanted forest where mischief casts spells on the unaware and leads them into late night folly, only to awake with a hangover of regret. Does it sound familiar? Of course it does. One can always rely on Shakespeare to understand the human heart.

“How can these things come to pass? O, how mine eyes do loathe his visage now!”

One does not need to read the play, to love The Dream. The magical blend of music and ballet lead the audience through the drama. The audience chuckled spontaneously through the performance, it’s bewitching and it’s funny. They cheered and applauded.

The visual beauty of the set and performance is unworldly; it’s easy for us to be tripped into its spell. The music and the dance are fused into one. The poetry of our slumber awakens to newer world, an alternative, and a deviation from the probable path into a fantastic alternative that leads us safely back, to our destination.

Ballet of this calibre is a sublime experience.

Puck, (Chengwu Guo) the mischievous fairy, is a tad liberal with his love potions, which leads to squabbles and confrontations. His dance is super-imposed with thrill and adventure whereas the ‘labourers’ trod a heavy step. It’s the unique combination of dance that binds multiple styles and creates a visual texture to the play that is echoed by the score. Kevin Jackson is mesmerising as Oberon.

Chief Conductor Nicolette Fraillon leads the orchestra gently into the play with the strings and piano opening the drama, she builds the momentum with the wind instruments that tantalise the audience into a heightened state of expectation.

David Walkers set is magnificent, enriched by the lighting techniques of John B Read. It’s a sensory feast. The evening begins with the abstract dance of Symphonic Variations and Monotones 11, which showcases the talent of Frederick Ashton and the skill and grace of the dancers. This clears the pallet to make way for the rich, full-bodied production of the Dream.

Perfection!

The menagerie of hope, work and desire

IMG_2947THE EXONERATED

To be a victim of crime is a long road to recovery. To return to the just world and hang on dearly to the laws that make our society safe, is a tonic. How hard is it for the innocent to be destroyed and murdered by the Law. Where do they go to recover, if they can?

Ironically it is the free that are in danger of incarceration, the hippy, the ‘happy go lucky negro’, the hillbilly; bohemian to some, misfits to others, and ironically these trapped and injured souls bring beauty and faith to death row in Texas. IMG_2950 It’s a difficult topic to portray, un-fair executions of innocent people in a play.

They succeeded. They warmed the audience, and brought them thoughtfully through the menagerie of  tortured innocence, without bombarding them. This tight-rope of entertainment and serious consideration, was handled remarkably well. The audience smiled and laughed, as their empathy rose to the occasion.

“I wish you a long and happy life” the murdered girl from Peter Jackson’s movie, Lonely Bones claims sweetly.

It’s the sentiment of this beautiful play, I have suffered (so much) but I wish you well. There is a faith within the heart of the wrongfully accused, who are marked for death. IMG_2962The full attendance at the Chapel off Chapel clapped with vigour at the closing scene. Dig deep, life is not a luxury or an accessory it is the road to the infinite.

Performance Management

IMG_2787According to the Ringmaster Scott Hollingsworth there are four key worker traits; the acrobat who is the worker that jumps from task to task, the juggler often known as the multi-tasker, the CEO who takes charge and an appendage known as the clown. IMG_2806 The diplomatic play between manager and clown is a slippery slope of comic proportions, trying to work the unworkable in a PC office. Comedian Hollingsworth has the answer; it’s a whip and a little tune.

It’s a Brilliant performance. The Artists day job is ballooned into a seriously funny show at the Butterfly Club,it’s a must see.

IMG_2815How does a manager cope with the unmovable employee suffering from chronic hypochondria and tennis elbow from endless handballing?

“It wasn’t my fault alright” the clown proclaims.

The recruiting phase is a Mr Hyde and Dr Jekyll routine where what you see is all you wont get. The resume, the training, and availability LIES LIES and more LIES. Ode to the trainer, glory to the paid untrained. As in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, one has to weed out the brats. It’s a fabulously funny show,

Lady Liberty

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Amelia Ryan packs a case full of neurosis, hope and sex, which she unloads, by exploding into song. She has been searching for Liberty from Vegas to Adelaide.

“Who feels Alive?”

She is busting at the seams with life. Her show is sexy, smart and warm; the audience is charmed by her Bombo glam.

“Express yourself bitches!’

Amelia stares down controversy, to her Lady Liberty is a brave bold leader.

It’s a musical affair with Matthew Carey gracing the piano, as Amelia spouts cutting edge rhetoric, with a superb voice.IMG_3262

“Every time I hit the high notes an Angel falls”

She gels firmly with her audience singing pop songs that she has rewritten into comic lyrics. They  sing along with happiness that she has poked and evoked.

She wants to abandon her wild ways and find peace, it’s hard work so she succumbs to the weekend binge that spirals into guilt and remorse. She is fighting for truth, with all of her shadows. She wants it all and she wants it now !

Beau Heartbreaker

She’s a really nice bloke.

IMG_3446Selina Jenkins animates her character through expression, tales and song.

There is no fire, but it feels like there should be, there is an intimacy. The strumming guitar and heart-felt tunes told in a beautiful voice add to an outback ambiance. The audience laughter is triggered by subtle and poignant lyrics, we could be here for days.

There is a happy balance of country logic and wacky nuances. He is country through and through and she is cutting edge.

“Certainty is…I’m not quite sure anymore”

IMG_3439Beau takes us through the world with new eyes. It is an intelligent conversation with the audience with endless trap-doors of humour. The laughter is contagious, it spreads and spares no-one.

Turn off computers, the phones, T.Vs and radio, then come to the fireside and listen to yarns told by Beau Heartbreaker a dairy farmer.

 

The Exonerated appeal

 HURRICANE’S LEGACYIMG_2700

Now all the criminals in their coats and their ties
Are free to drink martinis and watch the sun rise
While Rubin sits like Buddha in a ten-foot cell
An innocent man in a living hell.
That’s the story of the Hurricane,
But it won’t be over till they clear his name
And give him back the time he’s done.
Put in a prison cell, but one time he could-a been
The champion of the world. (Bob Dylan)

The Exonerated portrays a world of brutality coinciding with human triumph and transcendence.

The Sol III Company is a theatrical company founded due to its affiliation with Rubin Hurricane Carter and his work with wrongfully convicted prisoners and prisoner rehabilitation initiatives. The company uses the medium to raise awareness and much needed funds for programs in prisons in the U.S.A and Australia, and also aids with the legal costs of exoneration of the wrongfully convicted – most notably David McCallum III (pictured) who was exonerated after wrongfully incarcerated for 29 years.

“In 2013, I made my global journey to meet with Rubin & my beloved friend, David McCallum, at Otisville Correctional Facility in New York,” said Sol III Company Founder & Artistic Director, Andrei Schiller-Chan. “After many years of exchanging letters with David and emails with Rubin’s team, I was about to meet a man who changed my life, despite the fact he was living behind concrete and barbed wire.

The play focuses on the triumph of the human spirit trapped wrongfully within the prison industrial complex.

Andrei Schiller-Chan brings a transcendental philosophy to the theatre, seeking to create a world of empathy for another’s suffering and generate positive change and communication to right wrongs. His close friendship with David McCallum serves as the inspiration for this production.