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Poems from Albany, birthplace of the Anzac story.

Posted by on 31 January 2017 | Tags: | 0 Comments

The Lighthouse Girl by Hellie Turner, based on the novels by Dianne Wolfer, is a uniquely West Australian story. This gentle play takes place in the Great Southern region of WA, based primarily in Albany. Evocative and powerful, this play embodies a powerful and truthful sense of a pivotal time in Australia's development as a nation.

Suzie Miller's Dust Receives WA Premier's Book Award

Posted by on 11 October 2016 | | 0 Comments

Many will remember the production Dust by Suzie Miller which Black Swan presented in 2014 as the World Premiere. We are thrilled that Dust, a Rio Tinto Black Swan Commission work, won Best Script at the WA Premier's Book Awards last week! A huge congratulations to Suzie for this outstanding award. 

Q&A With: Caitlin Beresford-Ord

Posted by on 11 July 2016 | | 0 Comments

 

Before you commenced rehearsals in late June, what were you most looking forward to about being involved in The Caucasian Chalk Circle and why?
I was in a production of Caucasian Chalk Circle when I was studying at WAAPA in 1998 and the experience was wonderful. There is so much about the play that demands total commitment as an actor;  physically, musically, intellectually and collaboratively. I was very excited about the prospect of working with a large ensemble again. On a more personal level, I played Grusha at WAAPA and am now playing the Governor’s Wife – I feel as though it’s coming literally full circle…or half circle to be more precise. And there is tremendous reward in that as an actor. I knew also that the opportunity of working with Dr Wang was going to be something unforgettable.
Now that you have commenced rehearsals, how has your focus changed? Is anything challenging you or surprising you?
The biggest challenge and delight has been how much my own process as an actor has had to shift. And it’s great to know that it CAN shift, that how I would usually prepare, rehearse and work to create a character is not fixed, it’s fluid. The physical demands are both challenging and exciting – we’re learning a new physical language and from artists like DR Wang and Chen Tao who are masters of it – it’s an incredible process.
The production demands a lot of physicality from the actors and requires them to take on multiple characters. What steps do you take to prepare for the rigors of rehearsals?
Early to bed, early to rise, early to rehearsal, comprehensive physical and vocal warm up and unwavering focus! We’re being asked to make bold and theatrical choices with very clear delineation between characters and social classes. I have to arrive every day prepared to give Dr Wang as much as possible to choose from – there’s no easing into the day – we have to start with a bang. 
Tell us a bit about the journey of your main character.
My main character is the Governor’s Wife, Natella Abashvili. Her journey is an interesting one as she’s not seen
throughout the main body of the play, although she’s referred to. Her journey is indelibly linked with Grusha’s as
it’s her child that Grusha rescues and takes on as her own. So when she (Natella)  returns to claim the child, it’s
laden with all those huge questions of nature and nurture, of what makes a mother, of rights and entitlement.
Natella is someone who appears to want to be adored and admired, rather than loved; someone for whom the acquisition of power, land, clothes is all important and her child a means of maintaining and consolidating that power. Ultimately, this is what results in her losing him.
Have you learnt anything from this very collaborative rehearsal process so far that is so valuable you will keep it in your bag of tricks forever?
I take something from every production – I’ve never been through a rehearsal process which hasn’t expanded and enriched me as an actor. This process is a wonderful return to a theatrical style and form – every scene change has it’s place, every move on stage is choreographed and meticulously rehearsed. As someone who directs regularly at  high schools and universities, it’s very exciting to watch Dr Wang and see just what is possible on stage, to remind myself that the theatrical boundaries are often so much further away 

To finish our series of Q&As with actors of The Caucasian Chalk Circle, we chatted with actor Caitlin Beresford-Ord. Caitlin has not only performed in Black Swan productions, including As You Like It, The White Divers of Broome and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, but she is also a Black Swan Teaching Artist, going to schools and communities to present acting and movement workshops. Caitlin fills us in on Caucasian and the rigorous rehearsal process:   

Q&A With: Adam Booth

Posted by on 11 July 2016 | | 0 Comments

 

The Caucasian Chalk Circle is a huge production for Black Swan – a large cast, a huge artistic endeavour, and a collaboration on an international scale. We chatted to actor Adam Booth, who you may remember from Venus in Fur, Blithe Spirit and The Seagull and soon to be seen in Angels in America, to see what it’s like from his point of view and what his is looking forward to. 
Adam, what is it that drew you to this production of The Caucasian Chalk Circle? What are you most looking forward to? 
When do you get an opportunity to work in a production like this? To work on a great play, by one of the great playwrights, with an amazing creative team that includes artists from the National Theatre of China? This is 'once in a lifetime' stuff. There's mystery in this project - I'm most looking forward to learning, adapting and offering what I can. I don't know where we'll end up. 
Most of the actors in this production will be wearing masks. Is this a new challenge for you? Are you expecting to change or increase other facets of your performance to compensate? 
The closest I've come to the technical challenge of performing in mask, in a sense, has been performing in 'lyric' style theatres that hold 2,000+ audience members. A good third of the audience can't actually make out your face - you're just a body with a voice! The little experimentation I've done with mask was at drama school. I remember feeling the influence each particular mask can have on physical and vocal qualities. The mask can trigger an unlikely imaginative response and lead you to the character. So hopefully the masks will unlock more doors than they close.
You met with Director Dr Wang during one of his visits to Perth. What was that like, especially considering the language barrier? 
I remember being invited to meet with Dr Wang. I was told that I didn't need to prepare an audition piece, but come for a discussion - this was a first for me. On my way into the audition room, I bumped into another actor and said I was strangely more nervous than usual because I was "an OK actor, but just a rubbish person." Turns out it was probably the most pleasant audition experience I've had. Through an interpreter we talked about the play and I shared some of my experiences in the theatre, in life. Dr Wang asked questions regarding my interpretation and sense of the play and offered his own views. Communicating through the interpreter distilled the conversation, allowing more room for reflection and a thoughtful, considered response.
The Caucasian Chalk Circle is at the Heath Ledger Theatre from 30 July to 14 August. Tickets on sale now through Ticketek. 

The Caucasian Chalk Circle is a huge production for Black Swan – a large cast, a huge artistic endeavour, and a collaboration on an international scale. We chatted to actor Adam Booth, who you may remember from Venus in Fur, Blithe Spirit and most recently, Angels in America, to see what it’s like from his point of view and what he is looking forward to. 

Q&A with: Kylie Farmer [Kaarljilba Kaardn]

Posted by on 11 July 2016 | | 0 Comments

 

1.      Your debut at Black Swan was in the smash hit The Sapphires in 2010, and you also worked with Black Swan on another hit, The White Divers of Broome in 2012. What have you been up to since we last saw you?
I've been working on inspired translations of Shakespearean sonnets into Nyungar language with Yirra Yaakin (which we performed at the Globe Theatre in London). I landed roles in television programs such as Redfern Now & The Gods of Wheat Street. I also worked as a script and acting coach on a production called Beautiful One Day presented by Ilbijerri and Belvoir, and in between all of those those creative endeavours, I've been involved in major project work at both Screen Australia and the Australian Film, Television and Radio School. I've also been working on various community devised theatre pieces with local talent.
2.      The Caucasian Chalk Circle is a big production – a big cast, a huge creative endeavour, and an international collaboration. What is it that drew you to this production? What are you most looking forward to?
I'm super excited to be working with all cast and crew involved in this production - there's so much talent from WA! Initially, the original show concept embracing Chinese culture with Nyungar song was what drew me to the project as I have both Nyungar and Chinese ancestry. The artistic vision has since changed but I'm still thrilled to be on board. I'm looking forward to rehearsing this classic work with the wonderful cast - many of whom I've worked with before - and being back on stage for Black Swan at the Heath Ledger.
3.      You recently had a mould taken of your face for a mask for this production. Obviously as an actor your facial movements and expressions can be a huge part of bringing your character to life, and a mask will hinder that in some ways. Is this a new challenge for you? Are you expecting to change or increase other facets of your performance to compensate?
I love a challenge! Certainly looking forward to exploring all areas of expression through the body and voice to compliment the beautiful masks we'll be wearing. At the moment, I'm just hoping it fits my face comfortably (chuckles).
4.      I believe you met Dr Wang during one of his visits to Perth, as a sort of quasi-audition. Is that right? What was that like? How hard or easy is it to cross the language barrier in a situation like that?  
Actually, I am yet to meet Dr Wang. I've been hearing tales of him being quite fierce in the rehearsal room though, so I'm definitely aiming to bring my A-game. I don't find it hard crossing language barriers. I've loved learning and hearing other languages from such a young age and I've always found other ways to communicate without speaking the language. Perhaps I should bring my Chinese grandfather into rehearsals with me so he can be my personal translator. (smiles)

 

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