Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Angela's Kitchen

Hilary says...

'Angela's Kitchen' opens tomorrow night, a Griffin Theatre Company production at the Stables in Kings Cross.

It's a one-man show performed and written by the inimitable Paul Capsis, in conjunction with director Julian Meyrick, and myself as associate writer.

Paul and I met as teenagers in 1985 through Shopfront Theatre in Sydney's south. We became fast friends, bonded by our Surry Hills childhoods, our love of music that no one else was into, and theatre. We created a miniature surf musical that toured from Pastel's in the city to the Clarendon in Katoomba. Through Paul I met Julian, whose Kickhouse Theatre commissioned a play from me in 1993, leading to my working with Julian and Louise, and the beginning of that friendship.

Twenty or so years passed and we'd all gone off in different directions. So when Nick Marchand asked if I'd collaborate with Paul and Julian on 'Angela's Kitchen', I was overjoyed. Not only was it the opportunity to work with two dear and old friends, but also with two great artists, on a play about the world Paul came from when I first knew him.

Every word in the play is Paul's. My job as associate writer has been to help Julian craft, edit, and elucidate themes while, as a writer, staying out of the way. The play's power comes from the honesty and simplicity of Paul's story-telling, and it was clear that any literary conceits would diffuse this power.

While we have made no attempt to make the play be about more than it is, the experience of the migrant's flight from trauma to safety is a universal one – there are few Australians who cannot claim it as part of their family history.  Angela's story provides a window into an ordinary life – a Maltese immigrant, a wife and mother, living in Surry Hills. This ordinary life is made of epic stuff – war, death, courage, endurance. The world is full of such windows, such 'ordinary' lives. By letting us glimpse into Angela's, Paul makes us consider where we come from, how we came to be what we are, how our actions shape our children.

Find out more about ANGELA'S KITCHEN at Griffin

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