Lyndelle GreenLyndelle Green is the director of Phoenix Theatre Company’s current production; the ‘right of passage’ Australian work, Away by Michael Gow.

Lyndelle and I have a previous association stemming from, as coincidence would have it, Phoenix Theatre Company. She is a lady who has that unflappable enthusiasm for theatre and revels in constant theatrical pursuit. I met her in the empty foyer of the Zenith Theatre, into which the actors trickle, one by one ready for the evenings dress run. 

She’s not without her experience either. Originally hailing from Queensland, Lyndelle’s work north of our borders is prolific. She carved a path as a director with the Brisbane Arts Theatre with her two notable productions being Juice by Stephen Davis and the well trodden classic, Taming of The Shrew. No doubt knowledge of the bard is a handy tool when approaching Away.

Although, it was her first passion, acting, that would draw her southward to Sydney, appearing in a number of productions not the least of which was Romeo and Juliet for the Phoenix Theatre Company. She has found extensive work around Sydney as a director as well. She directed Second Childhood by ‘Dahl-ian’ children’s author, Morris Gleitzman for the New Theatre. 

Away, however, marks her directorial debut at the Phoenix Theatre - I was intrigued to find out about what it’s like to take an infamous Australian play to a stage upon which you’ve never directed - is this an intimidating prospect? Apparently not for Lyndelle. Of directing at the Zenith Theatre for Phoenix, Lyndelle pertly asserts “I love working for Phoenix.” As for taking Away to the stage; apparently the answer is all in the wrist. Michael Gow’s wrist, actually.

For Lyndelle the writing is the key. It is the element of the play that, for her, assuages any feeling of being daunted or intimidated by the play’s reputation for being a stalwart classic. It is also the very component that drew the director in her to the play, she says “it’s extremely well written, it’s timeless, funny and current.” She delights in the fact that the play never dates, despite the tendency for plays to do so after there era as passed.
If the ‘writings the thing which captures the conscience of the director’ what is it that captures the attention and affection of the audience?

Lyndelle believes it’s a cocktail of different things - it’s a rare piece of theatre which is both poignant and funny with genuine moments of tenderness, moreover though, it’s because everyone can relate to it in some way and because you’re watching “real people, people that resonate.”
{xtypo_quote_right}’s a rare piece of theatre which is both poignant and funny with genuine moments of tenderness...{/xtypo_quote_right}
As ever, theatre presents challenges and I was curious to know just what sort of challenges this production held leading up to opening night. Lyndelle found it difficult to present me with a moment that illustrated any sort of honest challenge. After a moment, she had a couple for me.

As a director, a difficulty came in finding a way in which to allow the ‘filmic’ nature of the plays scenes run at pace without losing momentum and in such a way that would not be jarring for the audience. Not a bad comment given the episodic nature of the play - particularly in the first act.

The second challenge she created herself! She cast roles, which according to the script are intended to be played as an ensemble. Not a bad directorial choice at all - until you find you’ve created a quick change for one of your actors! In quick succession one actor goes from three characters with two very quick changes (Camper-Rick-Fairy for those who know the play). As far as challenges go, though, think they’ve had a fairly easy run.

Away is a thematic play, it jumps like an alley cat from one thematic idea to the next with startling precision - but you never feel like you’ve gorged at a didactic feast and left no room for metaphor desert!
So, with a veritable smorgasbord to choose from what is the central theme or themes of Away? For Lyndelle it’s to be true to oneself and not just the product of self discovery - but the journey to self discovery. 

Lyndelle has proved confident to take the mantle of a great piece of literature and present it on a stage she has trodden previously as an actress, never as director. After being invited to view the dress run I can safely say she’s accomplished the task with panache! The production shows a potential that will be fully realised over the season. As a final addition, Lyndelle avows “Do come and enjoy, it’s a great piece of Australian theatre.” Even if ‘life can sometimes get a little fraught’.

Phoenix Theatre Company's production of Away is now playing. Further information»

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