William Shakespeare’s long lost first play (Abridged)

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If you’ve not experienced the productions staged there, it’s 47 year home is fittingly in the converted fit out of St John’s Evangelist Church on Kent Street boasting a star studded alumni including Baz Luhrman, Bryan Brown, Peter Carroll and Judi Farr just to name a few.  

This production is part of an agreement for use of the space from its new owner / developer before it moves to its new home in Rozelle.  

The theatre company poignantly named after Saint Genesius, patron saint of actors.

William Shakespeare’s Long Lost First Play (Abridged) opens the 2021 season at the Genesian Theatre following its post lockdown return last year.  Tom Massey directs Reed Martin and Austin Tichenor’s play as the first draft ideas of Shakespeare are crammed into one ninety minute sitting using minimalist set design, orchestrating light (design by Mehran Mortezaei) and sound to transport us through the cities where many of Shakespeare’s plays are set.

Photo Credit: Tom Massey

It’s like watching the life of someone suffering attention deficit disorder flash before our eyes from the moment its three principals energise the stage proposing to play 1639 characters described in the manuscript. 

There are moments you feel like you’re in the Wizard of Oz tornado as much loved characters yet to be fully realised swirl around in snippets of parodic sequences in a dialogue of old English peppered with modern pop culture references. The production is filled with many callbacks to some of the playwright’s most iconic quotes.

Photo Credit: Tom Massey. (From left to right – Paris Change, Casey Martin & Riley Lewis play the three Shakespearian devotees immediately drawing us in with their passion and skill in narrating and sliding into characters that are said to be William Shakespeare’s first drafts of some of his most famous plays)

This fictional work proposes an undiscovered manuscript of William Shakespeare’s showcasing the genesis of some of his most iconic characters and plays in a mashup of mayhem couched in comical lunacy. There’s no real plot to follow, but rather a send up of Macbeth, Romeo & Juliet, Caesar, A mid summer night’s dream, Henry IV and more. Die hard fans will appreciate the inside jokes, however fusing modern pop culture references brings a likeability for those unfamiliar with the playwright’s works.

Photo Credit: Tom Massey. (Two of Shakespeare’s fairies battle it out for the title of best fairy)

The story revolves around a revivalry between Puck (fairy from A Midsummer Night’s Dream) and Ariel (the spirit from The Tempest), driven to outwit each other as the best fairy as we follow them around as they play the puppet masters engineering and manipulating the characters they target.

Photo Credit: Tom Massey (The daughters of King Lear)

Many laughs are brought as Cleopatra falls for Eeyore’s Bottom, Hamlet finds that Lady Macbeth is great at motivating him to be more of a ‘to be’ Hamlet instead of a ‘not to be’ Hamlet, while Lear’s three daughters the weird sisters predict, incant, and prepare potions on a Scottish Moor. The stitching together of Shakespeare’s most famous plots present comedic opportunities for wordplay and sendups. The actors never missing a beat in delivering those humorous punchlines, despite all the tongue twisters of Old English.

Photo Credit: Tom Massey

Season: Now playing until 13th February 2021
Friday and Saturday nights at 7.30pm
Sunday matinée at 4.30pm


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