subtlenuance, the brainchild of Daniela Giorgi and Paul Gilchrist, is a prolific independent theatre company dedicated to producing original Australian work that is not only entertaining (and it is that in spades!) but also thought-provoking, challenging, emotionally enthralling and engaging!
Daniela is an actor, producer and writer whilst Paul focuses more on writing and directing. Between them they have written, produced and directed the following original shows: The Political Hearts of Children , Blind Tasting , Lucy Black  Toy Box , Bare Boards Brave Hearts , A Quiet Night in Rangoon , Life Is Impossible , A Thing of Beauty , talc/Two Gates , Before The Embrace , Catherine At Avignon , True Times Three , Dead Money  and Turning Up .
Paul’s play Turning Up was short listed for the Theatre at Risk Festival of New Writing  and produced in 2006.
Prior to establishing subtlenuance both Daniela and Paul worked with Thrown Together Theatre a group that created performances in a range of eclectic non-traditional venues including community halls, sporting clubs, private residences and public spaces throughout NSW.
Iced Vovo spoke with subtlenuance about the company and their latest projects:
Q: subtlenuance has been producing independent theatre since 2008 but what I want to know first is what inspired the name?
A: You choose the dramatic form if you want to play with different voices. Different voices allow the subtlety and nuance of situations to become apparent. And we believe this is a good thing!
Q: You seem to both have a hand in most aspects of the business except I don’t think the public has seen you Paul out on stage, is that right? If so, why not!
A: I did appear on stage in some of our early satires when we worked with a company called Thrown Together. But I’m not a trained actor. subtlenuance is a writers’ company so we’re reliant on performers from outside the company. And we’ve been blessed to work with many superb actors.
Q: You now have around 14 original productions to your name – where do all your ideas come from?
A: subtlenuance explores ideas that are political and philosophical. These dimensions of our lives are ever present. All you have to do is dedicate yourself to presenting these experiences in ways that engage audiences, and then the well won’t ever run dry! Our work tends to be a mixture of historical and contemporary settings, and audiences seem to really enjoy that. Half our plays are set here and now, and the other half in the wild and exotic. We’ve taken audiences to medieval France, to renaissance England, to New York in the 1940’s, to Burma in the Saffron Revolution, and to modern day Australia.
Q: Blind Tasting seems to have emerged as your most acclaimed piece to date – what do you think it is about this play that has captured both the public and the critic’s attention?
A: Blind Tasting is one of our contemporary pieces and is performed by a brilliant actor, Sylvia Keays. She takes audiences on an extraordinary journey. It begins in the world of stand up humour and ends in a very moving place. It’s laughter and tears, and audiences love it. And, of course, incorporated into the show, there’s wine tasting! What’s not to like about that? The show has toured to Adelaide, Melbourne and LA and is currently doing a run at Sydney’s Ensemble Theatre.
Q: Rocket Man is about to be launched – is everything ready for ‘lift off’?
Q: Yes! We’re very much looking forward to opening on Thursday 4 July. We have a wonderful cast, including Sylvia from Blind Tasting. I think audiences will find this one very funny and quite thought provoking.
Q: Ok, bad puns aside, I love the little blurb on your website giving some background to the plot, essentially, am I right to say that it is about two people who have been play acting in one way or another to escape finding out who they really are? But eventually they have to face up to themselves in the cold hard light of day, so to speak?
Rocket Man is about story telling. And so it is about how we use stories to deceive ourselves. But it’s also about how story telling is an inevitable part of being human. The key is to be conscious of the stories we tell ourselves and the impact they have on our lives. The play’s set up is simple. Veronica has just met Neil and they’ve spent the night together. It could be the beginning of a beautiful romance. Or not. It’s been compared to those sparkling Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy films. One of my favourite scenes is when Veronica (Sylvia Keays) and Neil (Daniel Hunter) argue the value of her chosen profession, acting. It’s a scene that explodes out of some beautifully funny banter. What was playful teasing suddenly becomes a high stakes argument about how we represent ourselves. Do the stories we tell hold us back or do they propel us forward? Rocket Man is theatre we love doing; hopefully funny, emotive and thought provoking.
Q: What do you love most about the theatre process?
A: It’s collaborative nature. We get to work with some wonderfully talented artists. And we get to share the results with an audience that’s right there. It’s intimate, and the responses are instantaneous.
Q: I know you are both interested in exploring theatre in all its facets, from solo performance projects to multi-playwright projects – is there anything you haven’t yet tried that you’ve been wanting to?
A: Our last multi-playwright project was The Political Hearts of Children. Actors teamed up with writers to present crucial moments from the actor’s childhood. It was a very satisfying experience. This pairing of artists is something we’d very much like to continue to explore. Perhaps next time we’ll ask actors to tell us about their spiritual lives, or their sex lives!
Q: What’s next in the pipeline?
A: Daniela Giorgi’s play Friday is being produced in August at the Old Fitzroy Theatre by Sydney Independent Theatre Company. It’s a sizzling political satire presented by a really exciting team. And Blind Tasting continues at Ensemble in July. And to round of the year, my new play Cristina in the Cupboard opens in November. We look forward to entertaining audiences!
Written and directed by Paul Gilchrist
Performed by Daniel Hunter, Sylvia Keays, Alyssan Russell and Stephen Wilkinson.
Produced by Daniela Giorgi
Design by Rachel Scane
4 – 14 July 2013
Preview 3 July
Upstairs Theatre TAP Gallery
278 Palmer Street, Darlinghurst
Tues to Sat 8pm, Sun 5pm
$25 / $20 / Cheap Tues $15 / Preview $15
Bookings 0481 514 945
For information about Blind Tasting at the Ensemble theatre go to the following link: http://ensemble.com.au/whats-on/play/blind-tasting/