A Theatrical Time Capsule Comes to Life this April in a World Premiere Anthology of Short Plays from Award-Winning Australian Playwrights

Critical Stages Touring, Australia’s national touring theatre company, will present a world premiere anthology of new stories for the stage in a live-streamed staged reading at the FringeHQ Newtown theatre on April 28th.

In the early days of the Covid lockdown in 2020, playwrights Vanessa Bates, Mary Rachel Brown, Suzie Miller, Lachlan Philpott and Katie Pollock came together in a virtual writing group to support each other and spur each other on. There were only two rules: deliver a piece every Monday inspired by events of the previous week; and show up online to read them out. Write down, show up, read out.

The result was an anthology of stand-alone short Australian plays that respond to 2020 in deeply personal ways. Loneliness, fear, bad dreams, repressed attraction or repugnance, lockdown and sudden escapes, jigsaw puzzles, food deliveries, bad tempers, and penguins all made their way onto their pages.

The works were gathered together to become The Curve, being a book published by Currency Press as well as a live performance event that will be filmed and streamed by Critical Stages Touring, directed by Chris Bendall. The livestream will be free for the public to watch over YouTube and Facebook, after which it will be available as a pay-per-view production on the CST Screening Room, the company’s online home for streaming independent theatre.

Suzie Miller said of the experience “Meeting and sharing digitally throughout the pandemic not only brought us together as playwrights but allowed us to share, via our writing, deeply personal experiences of an uncertain year. In a profession where so much time is spent alone we were ignited online, pushing our own boundaries by enacting the characters in each other’s works. There was laughter, tears, bad-acting playwrights, good-acting playwrights; and through our written words, deeply philosophical ideas and insights were explored.” she said, “Together we found a way, once we had mastered the technology, to mimic the ‘emotional mist’ of being together despite zooming in from communities scattered through Sydney and regional NSW. This connected-ness and intimacy with such extraordinary playwrights was for me a deeply felt and affecting element of lockdown, a single bright spark amidst the dark theatres all about us.”

Like a contemporary journal of the plague year, this collection of monologues and scenes is a playwrights’ time capsule reflecting the lived experience of five Australian writers during the pandemic. With humour, drama, surprise, and searing honesty, the production interrogates, illuminates, and explores what it means to live through ‘extraordinary times’.

Chris Bendall, CEO of Critical Stages Touring, “This is a remarkable collection of writing from five outstanding playwrights, whose work I have long admired. Each writer has interrogated the unique times we have been living through with remarkable depth, warmth, humour and hope.” He said “I am very much looking forward to working with our outstanding cast to give voice to these works, and bring them to the stage for the first time. This will also be an exciting addition to our CST Screening Room, and creates an ideal companion piece to our Come To Where I Am Australia series, profiling the work of outstanding Australian playwrights to tell the story of these unforgettable times.”

The Curve
When: Wednesday 28th April, 7.30pm
Where: FringeHQ Theatre, 505 Eliza Street, Newtown
Tickets: Live performance by invitation only. Watch live for free via Facebook Live and YouTube
Streaming: Pay-per-view in the CST Screening Room for $10 from Monday 3rd May (www.criticalstages.com.au/screening-room)