When the actors arrived to start rehearsing on CJ Naylor’s new play, The Gloveman, director Michael Block told them to put away their scripts. He had developed a new technique in which the actors learn all the stage directions first, then gradually add their lines as they repeat each sequence over and over. For the actors, it’s a fresh and challenging approach. For the audience it gives the performance a simultaneous sense of stability and spontaneity.
In the intimate space of Blood Moon Theatre, with sparse production elements, Block’s technique is very effective.
The play is ostensibly about English minor league football goalkeeper Royce (Chris Argirousis) whose gambling problem forces him to accept money to throw a match.
But “the football side of it is really the backdrop” according to Brinley Meyer who plays Royce’s sister, Edith. “It’s such an intimate play – it’s really about the story of these people and their lives and their dreams…”
Edith is in her late 20s, naive and impeded – more mentally than physically – by a bone defect that causes her to limp. Nevertheless, she fantasises about becoming a film star. Her brother, Royce is, presumedly, on the way to achieving his dream of being a football hero. In reality, Royce is beholden to match-fixing fiend, Hugh (Chris Miller), who cajoles Edith into running away with him so he can use her as collateral. Instead, Hugh discovers he has a heart.
Matt Blake plays Royce’s hapless buddy, Col; Ben Dewstow is the arch rival who receives an ego piercing enlightening and Janine Penfold is the trouble-making reporter.
It’s well-written with a balance of pathos and humour. In spite of the seeming hopelessness, as Meyer assures “The play is very well resolved…you come away feeling good and satisfied.”
Until 14. Blood Moon Theatre, The World Bar, 24 Bayswater Rd, Kings Cross. $27.33–$37.83. Tickets & Info: www.eventbrite.com.au
By Rita Bratovich.