REVIEW: Apologies to Pirandello

Presented by: Company Clegg

Venue: Young People’s Theatre, Hamilton

Season: Ended yesterday

HUNTER TAFE’s first-year acting students gave audiences a good time as they performed six works, a mix of 10-minute plays and scenes from longer scripts, that looked amusingly at the acting process.

The scenes were framed by a running battle between two groups of actors – one team untidily dressed and chaotic in movement; the other fastidiously garmented and precise in their actions – who were seeking an author.

The show’s framing title was a reference to the classic Luigi Pirandello comedy Six Characters in Search of an Author, which has a similar premise and was first performed in 1921.

The opening piece, from Patricia Cornelius’s play The Call, looked at unexpected changes in people’s lifestyles as a man in a chicken-processing factory refused to slaughter a bird, drawing a range of responses from his co-workers.

An excerpt from Anna Tregloan’s The Dictionary of Imaginary Places showed four strangers entering into conversation on a train, and raising questions about what was real and what was imagined in their words.

Greg Kotis’s An Examination of the Whole Playwright/Actor Relationship Presented as Some Kind of Cop Show Parody was one of the program’s funniest pieces as it showed a writer getting good cop-bad cop treatment from two policemen questioning his characterisations.

A comically arguing trio raised weird ideas about True Love in Charles Mee’s scene of that name, while breaking up with a boyfriend proved to have an engaging resolution for a manipulative woman in Elizabeth Meriwether’s Poor Bob.

The final play, Adam Bock’s Three Guys and a Brenda, engagingly had the four title characters played by members of the opposite sex and showed just how amusing such role-swapping can be.

The linking scenes included an author sitting in the audience, with her comments repeatedly ignored by actors in both groups. The 21 acting students, though, had clearly taken note of director David Brown’s observations on the connections between writers and performers.

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