Tag Archives: Rob de Fries

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.

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Last Drinks at At the Gates

At the Gates

At the Gates @ Smith’s Alternative

Fresh from a terrific run at Best of Crash Test last month, my short play Last Drinks will be doing an encore performance as part of At the Gates, a variety show taking place at Smith’s Alternative on 9 July 2016.

At the Gates will showcase a slew of Canberra talent including performance poets, theatre folk and musicians. Performers include Rob Defries, Helen Way, Phillip Meddows, Cara Irvine, John Lombard, Ghost Noises, Barbi Jones, Dylan Hekimian, The Faumuis, and Katherine Berry. The event has been organised and will be hosted by the wonderful Brendan Kelly.

Apart from being a great excuse to indulge in some creativity, At the Gates also aims to raise funds and awareness for the plight of refugees around the world. All proceeds will be donated to Amnesty International.

The show kicks off at 4pm. Entry is $10.

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Last Drinks at Best of Crash Test

Best of Crash Test @ Courtyard Studio

Best of Crash Test (25-26 June)

Super excited that my short play Last Drinks will hit the Canberra boards again as part of Best of Crash Test on 25 & 26 of June.

Last Drinks was my first Crash Test play back in 2012. Since then it has become one of my most performed pieces with almost a dozen productions throughout Australia and abroad. In 2013 it won People’s Choice at Short+Sweet Canberra and was a Gala Finalist in Short+Sweet Auckland. Recently it was part of the inaugural Shorts on Stage ten-minute play festival at Noosa Arts Theatre.

Apart from the buzz of getting to see Last Drinks live again, I’m excited that this version will feature the talents of Rob Defries and Helen Way. Rob and Helen were the first actors to take Last Drinks into the Crash Test arena, and I’ve been itching to get them back in the roles. Added to this, the awesome Phillip Meddows will be directing! What more could a playwright ask for?

Best of Crash Test is a celebration of Crash Test Drama Canberra, a moved reading event aimed at developing original work and fostering creative collaboration. Since kicking off in 2012, Crash Test has played a key role in the emergence of a dynamic, energetic and inclusive ten-minute play scene in the ACT. A number of writers, actors and directors that have taken part of Crash Test Drama Canberra have gone on to enjoy success in ten-minute play festivals and competitions worldwide.

The full line up for Best of Crash Test is:

  • “My Undies are Evil” written and directed by John Lombard
  • “A Dog’s Life” written and directed by Angus Algie
  • “Sprung” by Nigel Palfreman, directed by Kirsty Budding
  • “Cupid’s Waiting” by Kate Roediger, directed by Rob Defries
  • “Cuts” by Mary Langdon, directed by Marcus Freeman
  • “Wardrobe Diplomacy” by Harriet Elvin, directed by Amanda Gillespie
  • “Money Rats” by Kirsty Budding, directed by C.S. Carroll
  • “Last Drinks” by Greg Gould, directed by Philip Meddows

The plays range in subject and style, from outlandish comedy to subtle political satire. All look to be a lot of fun.

The Best of Crash test kicks off at 7pm on 25 & 26 of June at the Courtyard Theater.  Tickets are on sale via Canberra Theatre.  The show is produced by the ever-enterprising Budding Theatre.

Note: this show is not suitable for children. There will be bad words. And sexy words. But mainly bad words.

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Unwrap Me Reviews

Brendan Kelly and Rob de Fries

Brendan Kelly and Rob de Fries perform in “Sexy Beth’s Giant Dildo Collection”

Alison McGregor and Brendan Kelly

Alison McGregor and Brendan Kelly perform in “Sexy Beth’s Giant Dildo Collection”

The Unwrap Me cast and crew

The Unwrap Me cast and crew

Unwrap Me, a showcase of Christmas themed short plays by new and emerging Australian playwrights, wrapped up with a sold out show at the Courtyard Studio on Saturday 20 December.

My play “Sexy Beth’s Giant Dildo Collection” closed out the show, and I am delighted to report that the reviews have been very positive. Below are a couple comments I particularly enjoyed:

Greg Gould’s “Sexy Beth’s Giant Dildo Collection,” dealing with honesty in family relationships, hit the spot in both writing and directing.
– Helen Musa, CityNews (read entire review)

The evening ended with perhaps the best written script: Sexy Beth’s Giant Dildo Collection by Canberra-based Greg Gould. […] The quality of the writing is in the immediately established genuineness of the feelings and motivations of each of the characters …
– Frank McKone, Canberra Critics Circle (read entire review)

Overall Unwrap Me was a fantastic and fun production to be involved in. Big congratulations to Budding Theatre for pulling the show together, and for fostering a truly inclusive and “can-do” approach to theatre making. I have no doubt they will continue to put on amazing shows in the future.

I’d also like to thank my amazing cast Brendan Kelly, Alison McGregor and Rob de Fries. As a first time director I knew I needed to surround myself with experienced and talented actors, and I couldn’t have asked for a better troupe to work with. They took my script and lifted it to another level. In fact, they knocked it out of the park!

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UNWRAP ME opens December 18

Unwrap Me: December 18-20, Courtyard Studio, Canberra Theatre

Unwrap Me: December 18-20, Courtyard Studio, Canberra Theatre

Opening night for Unwrap Me, a Christmas showcase of short plays by new and emerging Australian playwrights, is only days away!

The show kicks off at 8pm on December 18 at the Courtyard Studio, Canberra Theatre, with more shows happening on the 19th and 20th (including a matinee performance at 2pm on the 20th).

My play “Sexy Beth’s Giant Dildo Collection” will be one of ten plays performed on the night – and they all look pretty damn cool.

Tickets are on sale direct from Canberra Theatre. Be sure to check it out!

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Tickets for UNWRAP ME now on sale

Unwrap Me: December 18-20, Courtyard Studio, Canberra Theatre

Tickets for Unwrap Me, a Christmas showcase of short plays by new and emerging Australian playwrights, are now on sale.

My play “Sexy Beth’s Giant Dildo Collection” is one of ten short plays being performed in what looks to be an eclectic mix of silly season madness. I hear there’s even going to be carols (songs, not people named Carol …)!

Unwrap Me opens on December 18 at the Courtyard Studio, Canberra Theatre, with follow up shows on the 19th and 20th.

For full details check out Budding Theatre’s upcoming shows page or stop by the official Unwrap Me Facebook event page.

Tickets can be purchased direct from Canberra Theatre.

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UNWRAP ME

Unwrap Me flyer

Unwrap Me: December 18-20, Courtyard Studio, Canberra Theatre

My new short play “Sexy Beth’s Giant Dildo Collection” (I know, catchy title) is going to be part of UNWRAP ME on December 18, 19 and 20 at the Courtyard Studio in Canberra.

UNWRAP ME is a charity event raising money for Médecins Sans Frontières and the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA).

The show features new short plays from Australian playwrights responding to a Christmas-themed stimulus; the first stage direction must be: “(A character) enters carrying a Christmas present.”

UNWRAP ME is produced by Canberra producer and general go-getter, Kirsty Budding (of Budding Theatre).

This will be my first time directing one of my own plays (or any plays for that matter), but luckily I have a great cast in Brendan Kelly, Ali McGregor and Rob de Fries to help me out.

Looks like it’s going to be a lot of fun!

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