Tag Archives: Jess Waterhouse

The Inheritance: postmortem

It’s been two weeks since my first full-length play The Inheritance had its last show at Belconnen Community Theatre. It was a short run – four days, five shows, and only six weeks of rehearsals.

The Inheritance program

The Inheritance program

What a ride!

I had a lot of anxiety going in: What if we don’t sell enough tickets? What if people don’t like it? What if an actor gets sick and can’t go on? What if everyone suddenly realises I’m not very good at this playwriting stuff?

Who’d have thought being a playwright could be so stressful!

Luckily, my play was in safe hands. Cate Clelland, our fearless director, ushered my story from page to stage with experienced finesse. Our actors brought their A-games. People turned up. Most seemed to have a good time (most!). And now that the dust has settled, I haven’t heard a whisper from the playwriting police demanding my playwriting licence back.

The world continues to spin …

Highlight of the week was being able to share my work with friends and family. I don’t see them enough, so being able to give them a glimpse into my silly little brain was a real treat.

I also got a kick out of talking to the friends and family of the cast and crew in the foyer after each performance. It was cool to see how proud and impressed they were with their loved ones, and it was great to know my little play could give them something to reminisce about down the road (“remember that ridiculous play you were in about the stupidly rich family …”).

The full cast and crew (well, almost … someone had to take the photo!)

The biggest surprise for me coming out of the production was seeing just how many people it takes to put on a play. It was humbling to see so many talented people volunteer their time and experience to get this thing off the ground.

With that in mind, here’s a big list of thanks …

To the crew, designers and set builders: Ryan Lee and all the other magical pixies! Don’t think I didn’t see you flittering about making stuff look great. Love your work.

To the front of house staff: Stephen and his many helpers. Every machine needs good lubrication. Thanks for popping those corks and keeping the happy flowing.

To the young cast: Erin Stiles, Vivian Murray, and Martha Russel. You started each show with a bang. If I had known we’d get such great young actors, I would have written more scenes for you!

The spectacular cast of The Inheritance!

To the “adult” cast: Linda Chen (for expertly playing the empathetic straight woman surrounded by class clowns); Jess Waterhouse (for taking “sassy” to a whole new level); Alexandra Howard (for making bitchy look dignified … and easy); Victoria Hopkins (for bringing depth, even from the confines of a toilet stall! Sorry!); Vivek Sharma (for bringing big laughs to a small role); Rob Defries (for keeping everything anchored in “reality”); and John Kelly (for bringing a dead guy back to life!).

To my fearless director, Cate Clelland: the script set you challenges, but you always had an answer. Big thanks for your frank feedback and words of encouragement. I learned a lot from watching you work. Best of luck with your future productions!

To my producer Kirsty Budding and Budding Theatre: thanks for taking a risk on me, and for your ongoing support. A lot of people seek permission to do theatre; you go out and do it. I love that, and I can’t wait to see what Budding Theatre does next. Until then, try and get some sleep.

As for reviews, The Inheritance got the full Hollywood treatment: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly! Some of the responses I expected; some caught me by surprise. Regardless, all the feedback has been insightful and beneficial.

Perhaps the biggest lesson I learned from The Inheritance is that you can’t learn until you do. It’s one thing to write a play, to hear a reading of it, to see it workshopped, to watch it rehearsed, to get written feedback on a script, to discuss it with friends etc. It’s something else entirely to see it in full flight on a stage with a set, lights, and audience. Only then do you see the full picture: what works; what doesn’t; what could have been done different; what special nuggets were always hidden inside. I can honestly say that the five shows I saw of The Inheritance has taught me more about playwriting than anything I’ve done before. I have no doubt it has made me a better writer for the experience.

A memory to take home. Love it!

So what next? Hopefully The Inheritance will live on in one form or another. I’ll make a few adjustments, send it around, see if anyone is interested in it. I have a suspicion this won’t be the last time I see this wacky family butting heads on stage or on screen.

In the meantime, it’s back to the keyboard. The best advice I’ve ever been given as a writer (apart from “read … a lot”) is to not delay tackling a blank page. So, I’m diving back in. I’ll do what all writers must do when they get to the end of a story – start again.

Share

Mum and Dad bring home the silver

Short+Sweet Silver!

Short+Sweet Silver!

Brendan Kelly and Jess Waterhouse

Brendan Kelly and Jess Waterhouse

Short+Sweet Canberra 2015 wrapped up on Saturday 15 August with the Gala Final at the Courtyard Studio Theatre. I am delighted that The Truth About Mum and Dad picked up a few gongs: People’s Choice and Best Script.

My cast were also among the winners! Brendan Kelly took out best male actor for his portrayal of Jason, and Jess Waterhouse was nominated for best female actor for playing Mel. Brendan and Jess nailed their performances and took my script to a whole other level. Congrats and gratitude to both.

Truth be told, I am humbled the play took out the awards it did. There were a bunch of fantastic plays on offer that could have  scooped the awards pool.

Alison McGregor’s Beautiful, featuring her beloved burlesque character Sparkles, was a shining light throughout the festival – funny, clever, poetic, and theatrical in every sense of the word.

Ruth Pieloor’s Baby Blues, featuring a hilarious puppet baby, wonderfully exposed the (often self-inflicted) neuroses of a new parent. As a new father, this one struck a few chords for me!

Pete Malicki and Alex Broun, veterans of the 10-minute-play format, also put up some great work. Malicki’s The Long Game was tightly written and superbly performed by Sydney-based actor, Yannick Lawry. Broun’s Grace was spectacularly staged and moving. When these guys put up work, you’re rarely disappointed.

My favourite play at the Gala however was Kirsty Budding’s Sluts and Stars. Budding is a driven and talented local playwright and theatre-maker. Her work with younger performers is especially outstanding. Sluts and Stars was another great example of her ability to crack open the mind of a modern teenager in a way that is enlightening, empathetic, and not afraid to ask the important questions.

The end of Short+Sweet Canberra 2015 also marks the end of Kate Gaul’s oversight of the event. After three years as festival director, Kate will be handing the reigns over to local theatre-man Trevar Alan Chilver. No doubt Trevar will bring Short+Sweet back bigger than ever in 2016.

Congrats to everyone involved in this year’s festival. A lot of fun was had by all.

Share

The final truth

Brendan Kelly and Jess Waterhouse in The Truth About Mum and Dad

Brendan Kelly and Jess Waterhouse in The Truth About Mum and Dad

I’m pumped that my short play, The Truth About Mum and Dad, has been chosen to take part in the Short+Sweet Canberra 2015 Gala Final. The Gala Final consists of the best plays from both weeks of this year’s festival, including plays selected by anonymous judges and the most popular plays as voted by the audience.

The final takes place tomorrow (Saturday 15 August) with a matinee at 2:30pm followed by another performance at 7:30pm. Tickets are on sale now through Canberra Theatre. As always, it looks to be a spectacular night of drama, frivolity and fun!

The Truth About Mum and Dad will also be in the Short+Sweet Queensland Gala Final on Friday 28 August at the Powerhouse Theatre. Tickets are on sale through the Powerhouse Theatre.

Share

The truth opens tonight at Short+Sweet Canberra

Brendan Kelly and Jess Waterhouse in The Truth About Mum and Dad

Brendan Kelly and Jess Waterhouse in The Truth About Mum and Dad

My short play The Truth About Mum And Dad opens tonight! One of over twenty short plays taking part in Short+Sweet Canberra 2015, the whole production is shaping up to be a cracker.

I went along to the dress rehearsal for Week 1 last night and was blown away by the local talent on display and the amazing variety of plays on offer. I especially enjoyed the look of Tampon Please! (written and directed by Genevieve Keneally) and Beautiful (written and performed by Alison McGregor). Both are confronting, funny, and more than a little bit subversive. Great stuff.

If your keen to taste test Canberra’s best bite sized theatre, be sure to check out Short+Sweet Canberra from 4 – 15 August. Tickets are available through Canberra Theatre.

Share

The truth is out!

The Truth About Mum and Dad iShort+Sweet Brisbane poster

The Truth About Mum and Dad at Short+Sweet Brisbane

After being longlisted for this year’s Pint Sized Play Competition in the UK, my short play The Truth about Mum and Dad will be popping up in a few Aussie-based festivals in the next couple of months.

First it will be seen at Short+Sweet Brisbane from July 9 – 11 at the Brisbane Powerhouse. It will be directed by Shae Riches and will feature Ben Knapton as Jason and Samantha Sherrin as Rachael. Check out the awesome poster!

About a month later it will be performed as part of Short+Sweet Canberra on August 4 – 7 at the Courtyard Theatre. This rendition will be directed by Greg Gould and will feature Brendan Kelly as Jason and Jess Waterhouse as Rachael.

Here’s the play’s synopsis:

Rachael is shocked to find her father’s car parked outside a brothel. But when she calls her brother Jason for support, she discovers there is a lot more to mum and dad’s sex life than she ever wanted to know.

If you’re in Canberra or Brisbane, be sure to check it out!

Share