From small things, big things may grow

It has been said that ‘from little things, big things may grow’ – and this adage certainly rings true for the Short & Sweet concept, which has become an institution of Sydney’s summer and has taken on the world.

Short & Sweet, which has become not only Australia’s but the world’s biggest short play festival, opens with a bang next week in Sydney, with plenty of highlights.

From the saucy pen of 70-year-old Paddington playwright Jim Searle comes the hilarious and fast-paced bed-hopping comedy Embedded. Directed by the writer, it stars Paul Ayre (whose own play Bella premieres next week) as a husband who finds too many strangers want a piece of the action in his otherwise happy marriage. Libby Daniewska, Justine Kacir and newly settled Spanish actor Roberto Quintarelli feature with him in this sexy comedy.

Meanwhile, Afternoon Tea With Sex And Scones by Dona Garofali Parise of Griffith (directed by Stephen Carnell of Kings Cross) is a theatrical threesome in every sense… sex, lies… and strawberry jam! It stars Amelia Trantor, Cindi Knapton and Robert Teicher.

From the ridiculous to the sublime…  David Temme’s Our Last Goodbye is a powerful play which asks why with all the love between them, parents and their kids still can’t communicate. In this tender, moving but also drily humorous play we meet a couple who leave it tragically far too late to reach out to their son. David Atfield directs Isaac Gibson, Lainie Hart and Steven O’Brien.

The Prisoner And The Solider by indigenous Sydney playwright Nakkiah Lui, directed by Lisa Eisman with an indigenous cast including Angeline Penrith, Colin Kinchella and Bjorn Stewart is a wonderfully moving and provocative piece where two young Aboriginal men from different times, (grandfather and grandson to each other), journey through their own wars.

All Hail by Canberra writer Peter Holland and directed by Dale Menz is a witty, cheeky twist on Shakespeare’s Macbeth, backstage politics and ambition! Given a tiny role in Macbeth, Hamish (Martin Estridge) finds his wife Diana (Michelle Anderson) pushing and provoking him to ascend to the role he truly deserves: the lead! And she’s prepared for him to do anything to get it.These and six more short plays – all under 10 minutes – feature in the first week of Short & Sweet at Newtown Theatre from Wednesday, January 6 to Saturday, January 9 at 8.15pm.On Saturday, January 9  the matinee ‘wildcard’ program (single performances at Newtown Theatre from 3pm) opens with another six brilliant plays including Wearing the Veil by Rosemary Chance of Mullumbimby. Who decides what you wear? This is a brave exploration of the lives of veil-wearing Australian women. Directed by Denise Sivasubramaniam, it stars Marisa Reynaga and Michelle Cameron.

Short & Sweet Theatre Sydney 2010 will present 163 works from January to February in two parallel venues – NIDA’s Parade Playhouse kicks in from February – including its 1000th new Australian play.

Upcoming highlights include Mamdouh Habib’s autobiographical piece about his time in Guantanamo Bay, Waiting For Mamdouh as well as Sydney premieres for the controversial Caryl Churchill play Seven Jewish Children and Edward Albee’s revised version of his brilliantThe Sandbox.

The full program of works for Short & Sweet Theatre Sydney 2010 is published at will be reviewing all 163 plays during the festival.

Erin James

Erin James is's former Editor in Chief and a performer on both stage and screen. Credits include My Fair Lady, South Pacific and The King and I (Opera Australia), Love Never Dies and Cats (Really Useful Group), Blood Brothers (Enda Markey Presents), A Place To Call Home (Foxtel/Channel 7) and the feature film The Little Death (written and directed by Josh Lawson).

Erin James

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *