5Pound Theatre serves up Strindberg, Mamet, Ionesco as well as a home grown playwright, for its 2011 season
The season begins with a play written in 1888 by August Strindberg who was a novelist, playwright and essayist. He has been described as a bold experimenter exploring everything from naturalistic drama to expressionism and surrealism.
Miss Julie is a naturalistic piece which concerns itself with power in its various forms. The young woman of the title is a strong willed individual raised by her mother "to think like and act like a man." This dichotomy has left her confused and unable to completely commit to her relationship with Jean, who is manservant to her father, the Count. So Miss Julie has power over Jean because she is upper class but Jean has power over her because he is male and uninhibited by aristocratic values.
Widely regarded as one of the most controversial Strindberg plays, 5pound Theatre will present the Australian premiere of Craig Lucas’s modern adaption in mid May
The Woods by Pulitzer Prize winner David Mamet is the second offering in late July. The main theme of this piece is escape and asks the question: can we effectively ever hide from the outside world or from ourselves.
Mamet places a couple in the isolation of a log cabin situated deep in the woods. As the play progresses, and we move from the soothing, serene almost lyrical atmosphere to a harsher and more vulgar one, we understand that the refuge this couple seek is an illusion and there is no escape.
Mamet’s writing is specifically Mamet – filled with explicit language and rapid fire dialogue all serving to reveal the violence hiding behind a veil of calm. His style is so specific that it has been dubbed ‘Mamet Speak’ – great examples of this can be found in his play Glengarry Glen Ross.
Play 3, in late September/early October is Rhinoceros by the Theatre of the Absurd practitioner, Eugene Ionesco. The absurdist fiction work expresses the belief that, in a godless universe, human existence has no meaning or purpose and therefore all communication breaks down. Further, that logical construction and argument gives way to irrational and illogical speech and to its ultimate conclusion, silence.
In keeping with this notion of the solitude and insignificance of human existence, Rhinoceros is a tale about the inhabitants of a small provincial French town who all bar one individual progressively, and throughout its three cats, turn into Rhinoceroses. The play was written as a reaction to the brutal atrocities Ionesco witnessed during the Nazi occupation in France during World War II.
Rhinoceros will be 5pound Theatre’s debut entry into the Melbourne Fringe Festival.
Play 4, in mid November, is Loving Arthur by one of 5pound Theatre’s resident performers cum playwright, Giuseppe Mauceri. This cabaret style play promises to take you back to that moment in time when everything felt just right, when it seemed that every door was open and life was easy and carefree…until reality slaps you in the face…
5pound Theatre was founded in 2010 and is the resident theatre troop of The Owl and the Pussycat art space. It is an ensemble based theatre company that aims to produce work that speaks about the truth of the human experience. The group aims to keep theatre accessible and entertaining and feels it important to make theatre that challenges and inspires both audience and actor.