Christina in the Cupboard is the latest play from the team at subtlenuance theatre in Sydney and by all reports it is going to take you on a wonderful journey of the mind!
Iced Vovo spoke with writer/director Paul Gilchrist:
Q: First up I saw where you’re billing the new play, Cristina in the Cupboard, as an experiment in comic magical realism – can you explain for the un-initiated what that is?
A: We follow Cristina on an inner journey. The play doesn’t present everyday external life, but rather Cristina’s inner world. She confronts her demons and courts her dreams. The play is ‘magical’ because it’s not set in mundane reality, but still ‘realistic’ because it’s truthful to the fears and hopes so many of us entertain. And ‘comic’? In her inner world, Cristina meets a whole host of crazy hyperbolic characters that have been a joy to create.
Q: Without giving too much away what is the basic premise or plot line?
A: Cristina is a contemporary woman. Intelligent. Capable. But she’s not satisfied with what’s on offer. Life seems too small. So she takes the extraordinary step of withdrawing from society. It’s not a common choice nowadays. But it used to be, before the Industrial Revolution made our lives longer, and faster. And it still is a choice in many societies. “Cristina in the Cupboard” is an exploration of the contemplative life, its wonders and its temptations.
Q: What’s the main message or idea of the play or is that left up to theatre-goers to extrapolate?
A: I think audience members will find the play a lot of fun and hopefully quite moving. And I also hope it’s a conversation starter. I’d love people to consider the tension between the right we have to ‘me time’ and the consequences of our withdrawal on other people. I’d also love to throw into the modern conversation the possibility that ‘time out’ isn’t just about relaxation. Truly magical things can happen when you explore the world within.
Q: What prompted the subject matter? I thought it was interesting what you said about us trying to balance our own time with the demands on us from others. I’m wondering if you’ve figured out through writing this play what effect this has had on humans/society?
A: The subject matter was prompted by the fact as a company we create theatre that’s both philosophical and political. These two strands have a natural tension. Thought versus action. We need to have time to think, but it’s irresponsible not to act. But, of course, on one level, that’s a false dichotomy. Our thought feeds our action and our experience informs our thought. A full, rich life is one where we get the chance to explore both sides.
Q: Surely alone time allows us the opportunity to explore ourselves or to think magical things or think nothing – your thoughts?
A: Cristina’s inner journey takes her to an extraordinary place, a place of joy and strength. Without ‘alone time’ I suspect it is difficult to get to that place. But once you’ve found the extraordinary beauties of that place you have a responsibility to share. And that can mean going back to places you may have originally wanted to escape……
Q: What actors have you got on board for this production?
A: Cristina is an eight character ensemble piece, and we’ve had the good fortune to put together a wonderful team. Sylvia Keays plays Cristina, and it’s beautiful to work with her again after the joy that’s been Blind Tasting. Alice Keohavong plays her sister, and many readers will know Alice from the multi-award winning Australian film The Rocket. Cristina’s parents are played by Peter McAllum and Helen Tonkin, rightfully well known and highly respected actors whose wealth of experience is a real blessing. And Cristina’s inner world is further populated with some terrific actors – Sonya Kerr, Kelly Robinson, and Stephen Wilkinson – actors I’ve had the pleasure to have worked with on previous projects such as Lucy Black, Rocket Man and The Political Hearts of Children. And for anyone who saw Daniela Giorgi’s Friday at The Old Fitz, we’ve also got the brilliant young actor Sinead Curry on board.
2013 is our fifth year of producing solely original work and Cristina in the Cupboard is our sixteenth production. It will pleasingly fit into our body of work because it’s philosophical theatre presented in what we believe is an engaging way. But Cristina is also an exciting new step. We look forward to sharing it with audiences.
Q: Where will it be running and what dates?
Cristina in the Cupboard
Written and directed by Paul Gilchrist
Produced by Daniela Giorgi
With Sinead Curry, Sylvia Keays, Alice Keohavong, Sonya Kerr, Peter McAllum, Kelly Robinson, Helen Tonkin, Stephen Wilkinson
6 – 17 November 2013
Preview 6 November
TAP Gallery, Downstairs Theatre
278 Palmer Street, Darlinghurst
Tue to Sat 8pm, Sun 6pm
Tix: $25 / $20 / Cheap Tue $15 / Preview $15
Bookings 0481 514 945
More info: www.subtlenuance.com