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The Stirling Players Inc. Present 'Collaborators'

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by Haydn Radford (subscribe)
Haydn Radford -A freelance writer born in Adelaide, who loves living here. I write about movies, theatre, entertainment, literary and art events. I am happy to promote & review your events.
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Moscow 1938 - A dangerous place to have a sense of humour

Once again Stirling Players are fulfilling their commitment to producing new and challenging theatre productions, which have not been presented in South Australia before.

Their latest production, Collaborators, written by John Hodge, directed by Megan Dansie is another Australian first. It premiered at The National Theatre in London in 2011, and won the Olivier Award for Best Play in 2012.

Inspired by history, John Hodge's dark comic drama is a macabre and disturbing commentary regarding the playwright, Mikhail Bulgakov, whose writing was regularly censored or banned for opposing Bolshevism. Ironically, another of his plays White Guard, Stalin saw 15 times and considered it one of his favourite plays.

Stirling Community Theatre presents Collaborators
Dissidents artists with the playwright, Bulgakov (centre). From left: Sharon Malujlo, Gary George, Philip Lineton, Angela Short, Miriam Keane & Alex Antoniou Photo by Jane Bleby

Bulgakov is engaged to write a play to celebrate Josef Stalin's 60th birthday. This caustic commentary explores the pressure of fear, wit and entertaining satire to focus on the flexibility of the human spirit to find comedy in the most fearful circumstances.
Hence, a bizarre "collaboration" begins.

Stirling Community Theatre presents Collaborators
Peter Davies as Stalin & Gary George as Bulgakov "collaborating". Photo by Jane Bleby.

In 2011, Collaborators was described by London's National Theatre as "blistering... a lethal game of cat and mouse through which the appalling compromises and humiliations inflicted on any artist by those with power are held up to scrutiny".

""We want our audiences to have a great night out, something to think about as they leave the theatre, and debate over in the coming days," said Lori Nielsen, of the Players' Publicity Team. "Entertainment, yes, but we also like our audiences to experience a more complex and sometimes disturbing truth.

Over the past two years alone, we have presented plays which have dealt with stresses on Australian rural families in Inheritance, the questionable nature of modern parenting in God of Carnage, rights and freedoms of ageing parents in Mr Bailey's Minder and now rights and freedoms of another kind - those of artists in a dictatorship in Collaborators".

Nielsen added, "Collaborators is our third Australian premiere in two years, after sell-out productions of Lady in the Van in 2013 and Compleat Female Stage Beauty in 2012".

Both Compleat Female Stage Beauty and Collaborators have been directed by Megan Dansie, an AdelaideTheatre Guide Curtain Call and SA Critics Circle Award Winner for her productions of The Pillowman and Richard III for the Theatre Guild.

Stirling Community Theatre presents Collaborators
Megan Dansie directing. Photo by Lori Nielsen

Following her award winning productions of Richard III and The Pillowman, she produced Romeo and Juliet for The Theatre Guild. Her production of Richard 111 for The Theatre Guild was recently acclaimed at the annual ATG awards.

Nielsen said, "Megan specifically chose The Stirling Players as the company she wanted to work with on these productions knowing our ethos and our ability to meet the challenge of mounting, casting, staging and costuming these large productions with our talented and cohesive production team.

Although based in the historic Stirling Community Theatre we draw directors, cast, crew and audiences from all over Adelaide.

Stirling Community Theatre presents Collaborators
Viki Burrett (costume designer) with actor,Lauren Scarfe Photo by Lori Nielsen

In the past three years we have won or been nominated for the ATG Curtain Call Awards for every one of our productions."

Collaborators at the Stirling Theatre, Gary George plays Bulgakov, Peter Davies, the Russian dictator, and Sharon Malujlo, the dissident's wife, Yelena. Miriam Keane, Philip Lineton, Matt Houston, Alex Antoniou, Steve Marvanek, Brendan Clare, David Lockwood, Sam Rogers, Joshua Coldwell, Angela Short and Lauren Scarfe complete the cast.

When: Fri & Sat 3,4, 10, 11, 17, 18 Oct. at 8.00 pm

Sun 5 & 12 Oct. at 4.00 pm.

Backstage tour after the 5 Oct matinee.

Where: Stirling Community Theatre, Avenue Road, Stirling

Cost: Adult $20, Conc. $16 Groups of 10 $14

Phone: Stirling Players' Ticketing 0414 075 413


Stirling Community Theatre presents Collaborators
Stirling Community Theatre, 7 Avenue Road, Stirling.
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Why? A dark comic drama explores a writer writing a play for Stalin in macabre, witty, entertaining yet dire circumstances.
When: Fri & Sat 3, 4, 10, 11, 17, 18 October at 8pm. Sun 5 & 12 Oct. at 4.00pm. (Backstage tour after the 5 Oct matinee)
Phone: Stirling Players' Ticketing 0414 075 413
Where: Stirling Community Theatre, Avenue Road, Stirling.
Cost: Adult $20, Conc. $16. Groups of 10 $14.
Your Comment
Nice article Haydn, I'm going to see it.
Congratulations on your one hundred articles as well...
by James Newcombe (score: 2|359) 2339 days ago
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