|Summer Shorts: four of the best with plenty of zest and jest|
WHAT do a 1920s social satire, an argument over a wedding, junior football and online scam have in common?
They’re the subject of four short plays – Fourteen, Daddy’s Little Girl, Taking Sides and Fleeced! – being presented under the banner of “Summer Shorts” at Melville Theatre.
Written by Alice Gerstenberg and directed by Carmen Dohle, Fourteen is set in New York in the 1920s with Mrs Pringle hosting a dinner party for 14 guests.
But a terrible blizzard outside, and the cancellation of her guests, throws things into total confusion.
“I'd been looking at plays to direct for a while without finding any that appealed to me – they all had really uninteresting characters or plots,” Dohle said.
“But when I came across Fourteen, I really enjoyed reading it because it was fun, light-hearted and had some great, well-written characters.
“I'd also saw that it had never been performed in Perth so I thought it would be a great one to direct.
“It's set in the 1920s, which is always a fun time period, and makes it quite interesting because it's now literally 100 years old.”
Daddy’s Little Girl is written and directed by Noel O’Neill and also set in New York, although in contemporary times.
After an argument over her upcoming wedding, a daughter finds her father in the park – a familiar spot where he used to take her as a child.
“He wants to control the wedding but she cannot allow him to do that,” O’Neill said.
“What lies underneath is the fact he doesn’t want to lose her because she has lived at home with her mother and father all her whole life and she’s his only child.”
Written and directed by Suzannah Churchman, Taking Sides sees Hase realise he has some serious competition for the state try-outs when a girl called Sam turns up at the junior footy club.
Hase has enough problems already with his battling parents and punishing new coach to make an enemy of Sam – but she has other ideas.
“My inspiration came after I met a girl who had played with the same kids in a mixed footy team since Auskick,” Churchman said.
“She was turning 14 and AFL rules state you then have to join a girls’ team.
“There were not enough girls in her country town to form a team so, effectively, her footy life was over, which I thought was very sad.
“The characters in Taking Sides are people everyone will recognise and, whether you barrack for the Eagles or the Dockers or hate footy altogether, people can relate to that awkwardness at age 13 when you’re trying to figure out who you are.”
Fleeced! is a comedy written and directed by Bob Charteris, where a widowed Perth mother develops an online relationship with a man claiming to be a French count.
Her stepson Roger discovers she is about to leave for Paris and tries to dissuade her but she is adamant her internet friend is a real aristocrat and goes to France.
“There have been so many articles over the past few years about people losing a lot of money to people they have met over the internet,” Charteris said.
“A common thread seems to be loneliness and the quest for romance and I’ve made sure there are plenty of twists and turns in Fleeced! before the truth comes out.”
Summer Shorts play at 8pm February 13, 14, 15, 20, 21 and 22 with a 2pm matinee February 16. Tickets are $20, $15 concession – book at www.TAZTix.com.au or call TAZTix on 9255 3336.
Melville Theatre is at 393A Canning Highway (corner of Stock Road), Palmyra.
Venue: Melville Theatre, 393A Canning Highway, Palmyra
Summer Shorts play at 8pm February 13, 14, 15, 20, 21 and 22 with a 2pm matinee February 16. Tickets are $20, $15 concession.