A View from the Park – Carlisle Hotel, Western Australia. A SIMPLE premise delivers a quintet of short original plays at the Carlisle Hotel this August.
Written and directed by prolific Perth playwright Noel O’Neill, A View from the Park is presented by Maverick Theatre Productions and features five different plays with two or three actors on a park bench.
Connie and Clyde opens the show with the title characters agreeing to meet after only sharing emails, then discovering they’re not quite who they pretended to be.
It’s followed by The Flat where two people meet in a park before having a liaison in a friend’s flat, leading to consequences neither of them bargained for.
In Serenade in Blue, a music teacher is found in a park by a girl and, as the story unfolds, it’s revealed he has dementia and she is trying to bring him home.
Love And Marriage is the tale of a couple agreeing to meet a woman to straighten out her marriage – but they have troubles of their own.
Rounding out the set is A Ticket To Paradise, where two retired Jewish men meet in a cemetery after working together for 30 years and discover more about each other than during their whole working career.
“This is a show about art reflecting life,” O’Neill said. “The main challenge was for the actors to make the script active, instead of themselves, because they only had a park bench when dealing with each other.
The most important thing when staging a production is to keep everything simple, including both the set and the story, to give the actors room to explore.
I relate it to walking my dog – I let the dog take me and, through his intuition, he comes alive to explore and enjoys the freedom, although the leash is on so he doesn’t run away.
The only metaphoric leash I put on the actors is to ensure they don’t run away with themselves; I let them explore and enjoy the freedom to use their intuition.”
Born in Ireland, O’Neill moved to New York in his late teens and studied acting with Lee Strasberg and Herbert Berghof, appearing in many off-Broadway productions including One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest and Of Mice and Men.
Since moving to Perth more than 20 years ago, he has appeared on stage and directed and written numerous shows for the Old Mill and KADS Theatres, Graduate Dramatic Society and the Irish Theatre Players.
O’Neill has won numerous awards for writing and directing and has previously worked as a lecturer at the WA Academy of Performing Arts and Perth Actors’ Collective.
Most recently, he has written and directed the sell-out production The Trials Of John Boyle O’Reilly and is currently appearing as Watto in the ABC-TV series The Heights.
“The inspiration for A View from the Park came from observing people and the complicated ways we go through our lives,” O’Neill said.
“The dialogue comes from people I have observed over the years, although the circumstances and situations are imagined.
“I recall their voices and the type of characters they were and then put them onto the page – but I have to hear and remember the voices first.”
A View from the Park plays at 7.30pm August 2, 3, 9 and 10 with 2.30pm matinees August 3, 4, 10 and 11. Tickets are $25, $20 concession – book at www.trybooking.com/BDQOP.
The Carlisle Hotel is at 174 Rutland Avenue, Carlisle, Western Australia. A View from the Park – Carlisle Hotel, Western Australia.