Thursday, November 25, 2010

Duets for Lovers and Dreamers- Fiona Long - INTERVIEWS

It Takes Two

Paul Andrew speaks to Writer Sandra Fiona Long and Director Naomi Steinborner about Duets for Lovers and Dreamers

A young girl contemplating her place in the world, a mother battling with her conflicting sense of self and new lovers enchanted by karaoke songs, writer Sandra Fiona Long’s new play is conceived as a “song cycle”, sweeping and poetic.
“Yes, it’s a cycle of duets for lovers and dreamers,” explains Long. “It’s inspired by the nature of story, the power of story and the trap of story. In a sense the story is the dream. Each of these duets ultimately deals with a moment of disillusionment, where a story is somehow no longer useful or relevant. Each of the pieces is very ephemeral. For me stories are like a prism. They have different view depending on which angle you take.”

Fiona Long is a recipient of the 2004 RE Ross Trust Script Development Awards. These grants are allocated annually by the State Library of Victoria for scripts by emerging or established playwrights that will benefit from work shopping with a director and or actors.  And today- almost six years of judicious development later- Duets Director Naomi Steinborner says, “Receiving an award like this and seeing a script to fruition is a long and intensive process. After our very first preview last night with an audience this whole journey has been truly worth it.”
“It’s a work about the stories we create about ourselves,” explains Steinborner, “about the obsessions which in turn can become our story at the expense of another , “referring here to a scene in the play about a sailor and a siren based on Homer’s hero Ulysses.” During a storm a man meets a woman in a bar; he is obsessed by her, believing she is ‘the one’, based entirely on his fleeting moment with her. This duet is juxtaposed with Homer’s archetypal story, a siren luring sailors to their deaths on the rocks. Ulysses had to deal with all sorts of bewitching creatures and monsters on the seas between Greece and Italy.”
“As I wrote initial scenes like this I realised it was a little like a 'song cycle', explains Fiona Long, “so I investigated this form further and worked with this idea as the piece developed. There was always a strong undercurrent of music in the writing, even though that may not be obvious. I was very specific about the rhythmic structure and it is quite detailed in the way lines should intersect at times. I have approached it a little like a musical score.
“Composer James Hullick has interpreted this concept beautifully,” interposes Steinborner. “In one particularly mesmerising scene “Girl up a Tree with Clouds “a girl ponders ‘what is the sound of clouds?’; James music sounds like clouds passing one another softly in the sky. “
"Dance is also an important element in this script and I was also quite specific about how dance interacts with the text. I have always seen the dance element as part of the musicality of the work.”
“The actors have been with us during much of this script development process too, “notes Steinborner, “so it’s been a very collaborative venture all up.  Seeing Helen Morse portray an older woman who remembers her dead husband -and observing Matt dance in an extraordinary choreographic scene - as the young man she fell in love with, sublime. I think what Sandra has really done with her script is kept our attention on those small acts, those little things of beauty which sustain us.”
Venue: fortyfivedownstairs | 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
Dates: 19 November - 5 December, 2010
Times: Tue - Sat 7.30pm, Sun 6.00pm
Matinee: Sun 28 @ 2.00pm
Tickets: Full $30 | Concession $25
Bookings: 03 9662 9966

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