THE annual Clegg Festival gives screen and media students in diploma and advanced diploma courses at Newcastle TAFE the chance to show the skills they have developed as actors, writers and directors. This year’s event has 10 plays, presented in two programs at the Civic Playhouse. And the diversity and quality of the works in the first program, Hearts and Minds, has left me keen to see to see the second, Body and Soul.
Hearts and Minds opens with Seatless (writer-director Liam Callister), which has a young man repeatedly and amusingly changing seats with others as he waits in a cinema for a film to start. Forest Lane (Ashleigh Earley) is a brisk five-minute work, full of surprises, and Samantha (Georgia Emblen) is a woman whose meetings with various people after a four-year relationship ends raise laughs.
The other two plays, each more than 30 minutes, are based on historic events. Death of a Healer (Sam Lawrence) is a darkly comic depiction of the true story of three Russians trying to kill black-robed imperial advisor Rasputin in 1916, with royal princess Alexandra clearly attracted to him. And My Struggle (Ryan Bates) has three pre-World War II Germans fighting each other to read a copy of Adolf Hitler’s book Mein Kampf.
Hearts and Minds has its final performance on October 6 at 7.30pm. Body and Soul can be seen on October 5 and October 7. Its plays are: Working Romance, Liam Danaher; Rebellious Streak, Biddy O’Sullivan; The Heist, Chauntelle O’Brien; No Rest for the Wicked, Chloe O’Neill; Lobby, Ethan Dale.