Last weekend Woy Woy opened their “Season of One Act Plays”. The introduction of this preparation for festival season in recent years has been warmly anticipated by theatregoers on the Coast, and has become so popular that it is now being adopted by other local groups such as Wyong Drama Group who will be previewing their entries for CentralCoast Theatrefest later this month.
There are many advantages to this format, not least being the presentation of a variety of drama to audiences at one sitting, but it also provides an opportunity for a greater number of actors, directors and crew to become involved in the production, and it was good to see several relative newcomers consolidating their experience with the group alongside many WWLT regulars.
This year the program consists of three quite different comedies, two on the theme of the arts and one on commerce. The first is “Writer’s Block”, written and directed by one of Woy Woy’s resident playwrights, Penny Dilworth, and featuring Jessica Alex, Richard Goodwin and Joe Matheson. This is the third play Penny has written for Woy Woy. A slightly absurdist comedy, it pokes fun at the conventions of the spy genre while examining the vicissitudes of the writing process as a novelist’s own characters gang up and start to harangue him while he is attempting to plot his story.
In contrast, “The Oldest Profession”, written by Paula Vogel, is a bitter-sweet tragi-comedy with an interesting premise. Set in New York during the 80s as Ronald Reagan enters The Whitehouse, it examines the effects of economic rationalism on the political microcosm of a group of aging prostitutes. The charm of this play is in the very different characters of the women who are played with humour and poignancy by Joan Dalgleish, Denise Main, Rhondda Pearce, Marie Sellers and Shea Wicks. The play is directed by Stephen Cummings, who also directed the winner of Best Production at Central Coast Theatrefest 2011.
My personal favourite, however, was “The Craft”, written by Andrew Bliss with direction by Gavin Critchley. This sharply observed and witty comment on the acting profession exposes the hypocrisies of a pair of players by revealing their interior monologues as they enact a romantic melodrama. It is played to hilarious effect and with superb comic timing by Gerard Dunning and Helen Herridge.
WWLT President Barbara Hickey has been pleased with the response to the season, which will finish its two week run this weekend (May 19). “The final Sunday matinee sold out over a week ago,” she said. “There’s been a huge demand for tickets for the final weekend, with heavy interest in Friday night’s performance.” WWLT publicity advises that best available seats as of Sunday the 12th are for the last Saturday night (May 18).
Tickets are available on-line at http://www.laycockstreettheatre.com and the Peninsula Theatre Box Office is open Friday between 10am and 12 noon, and one hour before the advertised starting time of each performance – phone 4344 4737.
[Images courtesy of WWLT publicity]