Anna Renzenbrink is set to bring her latest offering, Understudied: Tales From The Hollywood Back Lot, to the fabulous surrounds of The Butterfly Club.
The story chronicles those not so famous folk who have stepped in the foot steps (literally) of the rich and famous during the Hollywood of yesteryear. These are the ‘stars’ who have played flying monkeys in The Wizard Of Oz, Confederate Soldier # 2 in Gone With The Wind, and Man In Shady Lane Standing Behind Humphrey Bogart in his entire catalogue. In the back lot of the MGM studios, they trade their stories of standing in the shadows of Garland, Bogart and Kelly.
Understudied is the brainchild of Anna Renzenbrink and features Melbourne theatre stalwarts Jason Geary, Jenny Lovell and Lliam Amor. Equal parts comedy and drama, it offers a unique perspective on the Golden Era of Hollywood.
The genesis and inspiration for this project started with the costume. “I found this great 1940s dress and sailor hat in a retro shop in Brisbane,” says Renzenbrink. “I was up in Brisbane for a weekend to do a show for Impro Mafia, and Lliam Amor and I were mucking about with accents backstage and came up with the character idea to suit the dress – a child star like Shirley Temple!”
Renzenbrink has been bubbling away with ideas for a good six months: “I had a grand vision of recreating The Wizard of Oz story but with characters from the Film world.”
A comedic actress for over ten years, Renzenbrink has found this project a wonderful opportunity to play with vulnerability, sadness and the dark humour that doesn’t always have a place on the improv stage. “I wanted to give some amazing actors the chance to stretch themselves and really go to town playing within a wonderful era,” she says.
The show as a one act play full of humour and heart – showcasing the characters who made Hollywood but never got any credit. Audiences should leave a little optimistic and a little heartbroken for these characters and wondering which movie trivia was fact or fiction! For instance, did you know that: Clark Gable had bad breath, it took two years to cast Vivian Leigh as Scarlett O’Hara and Judy Garland was given pills by her mother and groped by Louis B Mayer. Also Marzipan O’Malley had polio twice!
So, find out what really happens after the director yells “CUT”, the star has retired to their dressing room with a mysterious paper bag and the extras are asked to do things you can barely imagine.
February 24 – 28