FLASH FESTIVAL 2015
I’ve always been reluctant to cast a critical eye on short play festivals that have been organised by community theatre groups. Invariably, the success – or failure – of the festival hinges on the following:
- The Plot of the Plays
- The Creativity of the Playwright
- The Third Eye of the Director
- The Talent of the Actors.
I came to this realisation several years ago after witnessing a train wreck of a short play festival in Sydney.
It was obvious the organising body had such a poor response from writers and felt compelled to throw anything into the mix to make up a ‘programme’. What was presented was an embarrassing batch of abysmal writing, uninspired acting and directing followed by a committee decision – ‘never again’.
Woy Woy Little Theatre took a huge risk last year and organised its first Flash Festival – a series of workshops for creative types who wanted to learn much more than the basics of creative writing, acting and directing. The Peninsula based theatre group put their money where their mouth was by underwriting the fees of three professional tutors and Flash was underway.
I was advised the standard for Flash 2015 is “very high”. This was not an exaggeration.
After sitting through Friday evening’s first performance I suggest that all involved excelled in pulling off a most enjoyable evening’s entertainment. The audience obviously agreed and were generously responsive with laughter, emotional silence, and spontaneous applause.
Subject matter varied from revenge, relationships and retribution. All ten plays were entertaining. And that’s the name of the game.
The adjudicators will have their hands full trying to narrow down the talented list in an effort to select the eventual Flash trophy winners.
For my money I specifically enjoyed the writing of Renee Chinn (Free Hugs), Sally Davies (The Break Up and The Angler), Penny Dilworth (Air Supply) and John AD Fraser (Colorado), while directors Andrew Thomson, Pam Campbell, Phyllis Horne and Rosemary Miklecic kept their casts moving to utilise that awkward stage area whilst encouraging the actors to build their performances.
I also enjoyed the work of Adam Young (two roles and as different as chalk and cheese – nice restraint, Adam), newcomer Luke Kaalin, Pam Campbell, Chris Cherry, Tiffany Duncan, Joan Dalgleish, Kelli Ward, Greg Buist and a delightful interpretation of a ‘director’ by Aidan Cuddington.
(Reproduced courtesy of WWLT publicity)