Six plays vie for 15 Minutes of Fame title
The winner of the 16th annual Famous for 15 Minutes playwriting contest will be named at Daylesford Theatre tonight.
The rules state that plays are judged only on the quality of the scripts.
Direction, acting and performance may bring them to life but the winner is to be decided on the script alone.
Mike Jones gives his opinion on the six plays chosen for this year’s performance.
Tucker and Tucker
By Jonathan Land Evans, directed by Sheilagh Robertson
It is 1958. Artist Charles Lloyd Tucker (Danjou Anderson) is painting the portrait of Sir Henry Tucker (John Dale) on the occasion of Sir Henry’s 25th anniversary of employment at the Bank of Bermuda.
The possibility of a frank and open exchange of views between leaders of Bermuda’s white and black communities on the subject of Bermuda’s political and socio-economic progress, on the eve of desegregation and universal suffrage, could have yielded considerable food for thought, if not after-dinner fireworks.
Instead, the dialogue lacks conflict or drama. Dale’s Sir Henry remains a smug and successful financier, Anderson’s Charles Lloyd just defers to him. It’s all a bit of a damp squib.
Playing by the Rules
By Elizabeth Jones, directed by Jym Brier
A football referee is in an impossible ethical dilemma. On the eve of a critical World Cup match Harry (Micah Jimenez), a Bermudian Fifa referee, is tested to the limit by an increasingly diabolical Raul, (Nicholas Fagundo), who wants him to fix a game.
The pace of the play picks up quickly and when Harry’s wife Debbie (Joanna Heaney) suddenly intervenes, everything changes again. Snappy dialogue and good movement from all the actors made this an absorbing and gripping piece.
By Joy Barnum, Catherine Hay and Vehia Walker, directed by Adam Gauntlett
Happy couple Erik Smith (Peyton Raynor) and Krystal Renaud-Smith (Caitlin Westhaver) are trying to decide on a name for their eight-week-old baby.
They find themselves navigating a cultural, racial, political and social typecasting minefield where even the most innocent suggestion elicits rage, scorn, contempt or anger — or all four at once.
The actors did a good job putting their rapid emotional changes across. This was an excellent comedy — fast paced and well acted — which also explored the deeper meaning of what really is in a name.
By Julia Pitt, directed by Graham Rendell and Monica Dobbie
Teenager Maddie (Talisa Marks) is locked away in a bubble of a constant stream of incoming smartphone messages, tearing herself away only to check how she looks in the mirror.
Marks’s portrait of Maddie is a masterful mix of vulnerability, angst-ridden selfishness and occasional bravado.
A resolution of sorts happens when her flesh-and-blood friend Jessie (Leire Hernandez) stops by to wish her happy birthday and offers some human contact.
The incoming voice messages, each punctuated with an annoying beep, were not clearly understandable during this play and the break-up of Maddie’s parents, which we’re told about only after two-thirds of the play has elapsed, would have been better placed at the beginning.
The title is ironic because all the mass of disembodied messages are definitely not here for Maddie.
If someday a painter
By Sherma Webbe-Clarke, directed by Deborah Joell
An historical portrait of aspiring operatic soprano Charlotte Hembry (Christine Whitestone) whose friend, Lady Emily (Therese Bean), warns her against the advances of predatory portrait painter Pierre Dupont (Patrick Quin): “If someday a painter presses your hand in his moist palms … consider your response …”
If that’s a warning then it’s unheeded by Charlotte because her sinister husband Robert (Geoffrey Faiella) introduces her to Dupont and then, her career in opera is over. She’s going to be a caged bird instead.
Don’t look for subplots, reversals, changes of trajectory, catharsis or peripeteia, this is strictly what you see is what you get.
Historical depth was provided by authentic looking 1840s costumes and hairstyles and the faint sound of the slaves’s chorus from Verdi’s Nabucco, but the play didn’t really come alive.
By Owain Johnston, directed by Will Kempe
Another historical play, but set in 3rd century BCE Corinth. Future Alexander the Great of Macedon (Atasha Jacobs) is out walking with servant Philip (Alan Brooks) when they come across a bundle of smelly rags which turns out to be the sleeping cynic philosopher, Diogenes (Phillip Jones).
Ignoring Philip’s warnings about Diogenes’s revolting personal habits and anarchic thinking, Alexander is drawn into conversation.
Under questioning, Diogenes reveals that Alexander the Great to be, is not what he seems. Jones, clad in what looks like the archetype of all coarse acting costumes, looks both demented yet completely focused in his acting.
Jacobs’s Alexander is statuesque, aloof and yet fearful of what the future will bring. Brooks provides an excellent foil to Jones, trying to defend conventional philosophy and the school of Plato against a tide of cynical derision.
Alexander’s revelation is both intriguing and disturbing and gives this play extra depth: what if history really happened like this?
• The 16th annual Famous for 15 Minutes Festival at Daylesford Theatre ends tonight, when the winner will be announced. Tickets, $85, are available at ptix.bm The author of this review, Mike Jones, is the husband of competing playwright Elizabeth Jones
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