With over 10,000 athletes competing, 20,000 journalists reporting, and millions of flag-pumping punters pouring in the gates of Old Blighty, the Games of the XXX Olympiad is certainly not short on ingredients – or cast members – for an epic piece of theatre. The motto is ‘Inspire a Generation’ and already it’s inspired at least one, Scotland-born, Sydney-based John AD Fraser (Rock Paper Scissors, Greatest Roadhouse), in this new work bringing director Leland Kean back from a three-year hiatus. As he limbers up, Kean takes a moment to shed some light on the spectacle …
This is a new Australian play, set amidst the hoopla of the London 2012 Olympics. What, then, is the connection with Irish theatre? The three main characters in the play are Irish, attempting to blow up the Olympics. The play explores the idea of an IRA uprising second coming. It’s a very funny black comedy echoing writers like Martin McDonagh and Conor McPherson. Even though it’s written by a Scotsman and developed by an Australian director.
At first glance the premise sounds quite absurd… a war breaking out with quislings (a word we had to look up!), a bomber called the Baker and leader called Skin-the-Goat… as a director, how do you anchor this in the ‘real’ for the audiences? Terrorism is absurd, but extremely real and present in our daily lives through the media. Taking a comic approach to it, say like in the film four kings, disarms the audience and allows them to find an understanding and often sympathy to the plight of the characters.
You say you hope that coffee is sprayed out of noses when people think back on the play. Did you have this experience? There is a song and dance rendition of Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang in an Irish accent, if that doesn’t get a laugh out of you, you might want to check if you are dead
Why should we, as the byline suggests, ‘give war a chance’? Well the peace version hasn’t really worked out that well has it?
Do we need to brush up on our Celtic political history before coming along? A packet of Tayto and couple of pints of Guinness before the show and you should be right
And, finally, how did you pull the team together? Three of the best actors [Laurence Coy, Xavier Coy and Duncan Fellows] I could find with heads like smashed pies and a beautiful actress [Scarlet McGlynn] … who is also quite good.
Jun 20-Jul 14, Old Fitz Theatre, cnr Cathedral & Dowling Sts, Woolloomooloo, $21-33, 1300 241 167, rocksurfers.org