Tag Archives: Fifty Words

Fifty Words by Michael Weller – Review

LAB Theatre arrives at the Alex

Review by Marian Webb / photographs by Kerrie Pacholli

Daniel Schepisi and Katharine InnesDaniel Schepisi and Katharine Innes performing in Fifty Words by Michael Weller

FIFTY WORDS by American dramatist MICHAEL WELLER premiered Off Broadway in 2008. Now, Lab Theatre, under the masterful direction of PETER KALOS, has brought the two-hander to the Alex in St Kilda.

Talented stage and screen performers KATHARINE INNES and DANIEL SCHEPISI portray Jan and Adam, a couple whose marriage reaches crisis over the course of a night when their nine-year-old son Greg is away on a sleep-over. The actors have both trained under Kalos in the American ‘method’ tradition pioneered by Lee Strasberg at the Actors Studio in New York and brought home by Kalos after a 20-year sojourn in the US.

Daniel Schepisi & Katharine Innes performing in Fifty Words by Michael Weller

Daniel Schepisi & Katharine Innes performing in Fifty Words by Michael Weller

Method is highly suitable to cinematic acting as it allows actors to tap the depths of their own psychology to give naturalistic, nuanced expression to the characters they portray. This kind of cinematic realism was on display in the stag performance I witnessed on Thursday night (25 July). There was genuine intimacy between the actors, who performed much of the play’s first act facing each other in profile to the audience, a positioning which rendered audible projection of dialogue somewhat difficult without the aid of cinematic microphones. Added to this challenge, Lab Theatre has only recently taken up residence at the Alex, which boasts an auditorium presumably larger than the ‘black box’ in Brunswick where in 2017 Lab Theatre began. Levels improved after intermission, however, when dialogue was perfectly audible.

Daniel Schepisi & Katharine Innes performing in Fifty Words by Michael Weller

Daniel Schepisi & Katharine Innes performing in Fifty Words by Michael Weller

Katharine Innes gave an assured, high-key performance as the overworked, overwrought Jan, a ballerina turned mother-cum-data-analyst. Daniel Schepisi gave a truthful rendition of Adam, Jan’s loving husband bemused by her increasingly frantic outbursts. There was much to love in his performance, although layers of deceitfulness and cynicism in Adam’s character seemed alien to the promising young actor.

The set, credited to Lab Theatre producers DENNIS MANAHAN, SKYE YOUNG and NATALIA NESPECA, is extraordinary; it presents an entirely liveable apartment complete with functioning kitchen, tasteful dining room, windows backdropped with nocturnal cityscape, and a translucent upstairs bedroom. A projected digital clock indicates the passage of time through the all-night action of the play.

The play’s title – Fifty Words – refers to a wish voiced by Jan for as many words in English for love as there are Eskimo words for snow. This is a love story about a crisis in intimacy that besets a marriage suddenly released from the blanketing burden of child-rearing.

Lab Theatre is to be congratulated for a nuanced and engaging piece of stage craft. The company is a welcome addition to the artistic life of St Kilda and well-placed to become a magnetic centre of excellence.

WHERE:

Alex Theatre – Level 1, 135 Fitzroy Street, St. Kilda

WHEN:

Wednesday 24 July @ 8pm (Preview night)

Friday 26 July @ 8pm (Opening Night)

Saturday 27 July @ 8pm

Sunday 28 July 5pm

Thursday 1 August @ 8pm

Friday 2 August @ 8pm

Saturday 3 August @8pm (Closing night)

BOOK at TICKETEK

 

Daniel Schepsis & Katharine Innes in Fifty Words by Michael Weller

Lab Theatre presents FIFTY WORDS by Michael Weller

LIMITED SEASON at the ALEX THEATRE – 135 FITZROY STREET, ST KILDA

Book at Ticketek

Daniel Schepsis & Katharine Innes in Fifty Words by Michael Weller

Daniel Schepisi & Katharine Innes in Fifty Words by Michael Weller

Performance Dates – Fifty Words
Wednesday 24 July (Preview): 8PM
Thursday 25 July (Media &VIP)
Friday 26 July (Opening): 8PM
Saturday 27 July: 8PM
Sunday 28th of July: 5PM
Thursday 1st of August: 8PM
Friday 2nd of August: 8PM
Saturday 3rd of August (CLOSING NIGHT) 8PM

 

THE TELEGRAPH

“Psychologically compelling.”

TIME OUT  ****

Fifty Words, by playwright Michael Weller, produced by Lab Theatre is opening this week at the Alex Theatre in St Kilda.

This is a powerful play of love, anger and betrayal with two of the most promising Australian actors in Katharine Innes and Daniel Schepisi.

Directed by Peter Kalos, the story is about Adam and Jan who are finally alone together for the first time in almost 10 years. Without the buffer of their nine-year-old son (who is away at his first-ever sleepover) Adam’s attempt to seduce his wife before he leaves on business the next day begins a suspenseful nightlong roller-coaster ride of revelation, rancour, passion and humour that explores a modern-day marriage on the verge of either a breakup or deepening love…

This smoothly scripted multi-layered play reveals how closely love and hate can be linked in marriage; with each problem experienced as parents, another subsequent layer revealed shows yet another problem in their relationship. The play is an incisive close-up of the emotional battleground of contemporary relationships and the lengths to which a couple will go to save it.

“The play is a bruising back and forth of power games, recriminations, seemingly innocent putdowns and ugly confessions, but it’s the evidence of inextinguishable love and desire that makes this 21st century George and Martha fascinating.” – David Rooney, Variety

By Open Media Australia