True West by Sam Shepard
October 12 - 22 (2016)
Venue: Mechanics Institute - 270 Sydney Rd, Brunswick.
True West is a phenomenal piece of American text written by Sam Shepard who is arguably one of the best playwrights of our time. True West follows the relationship of estranged brothers Austin (Charlie Mycroft) and Lee (Michael Argus) as they descend into a competitive struggle, fueled by the desire to dominate one another. Austin, a screenwriter, is charged with house sitting for Mom (Suzanne Heywood) whilst she is away in Alaska. His brother Lee, a wanderer who steals and extorts his way through existence, shows up unannounced after a 5-year hiatus. When Lee threatens Austin’s big break by striking up a deal with producer Saul (Des Fleming), the brothers spiral out of control as they lose their grip on what defines them.
The team was headed up by director Alice Darling (2014 graduate directors program, Red Stitch) and she surrounded herself with a very exciting design team including set and costume designer Jacob Battista (MTC, Opera Australia, The Production Company), Green Room Award nominated lighting designer, Clare Springett (Red Stitch) and new comers Justin Gardam and Marlon Grunden on sound design and composition respectively.
Sam Shepard is a Pulitzer Prize winning playwright producing works of the highest calibre. He is widely regarded as a contemporary American master. True West was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in 1983 and is considered by many to be the third installment of a family trilogy including 'Curse Of The Starving Class' and 'Buried Child'. The play explores the intricacy of family dynamics with particular focus on two estranged brothers (Lee and Austin) and the duality of character that exists in them both. True West has all the hallmarks of a Shepard play including his poeticism, black humour and surrealist elements.
Alice has completed a Post Graduate Diploma in Performance Creation – Directing at the Victorian College of the Arts, a Bachelor of Creative Arts – Drama (Honours) from Flinders University and in 2014 received the inaugural graduate director placement at Red Stitch Actors Theatre.
Directing credits include: Catherine: the body politic [La Mama], Undercoat: a parafoxical tale [La Mama Explorations], Middletown [Red Stitch], Tender Napalm [TBC Theatre], Kindness by Bridget Mackey [Flight Festival for Theatre Works], Killer Joe [Blackwater Theatre], You Took the Stars [Fire Curtain Co.], I Want You but I Don’t Need You [PlayList for Red Stitch], Like a Fishbone [Man with a Plan & MKA: Theatre of New Writing], The Last Time I Saw Richard [VCA] and Tuesday [VCA].
Clare is a Green Room award nominated lighting designer and has a Diploma of Live Production from Box Hill.
Freelance design credits include; Robots vs Art [La Mama], Vile [La Mama], Ignatious Grail [Fringe 2015], The Inaugural Annual Dance Affair [True North 2016], Abigail/1702 [Boutique Theatre].
With Red Stitch credits include; Howie the Rookie, Orphans, Midsummer, 4000 Miles, NSFW, Out of The Water [Production Manager], Belleville, EURYDICE [Green Room Award Nomination], Jumpers for Goalposts, Wet House, LOVE LOVE LOVE, The Village Bike, The River and You Got Older.
Jacob completed a Bachelor of Production at the VCA and his design work has been seen on stages right around Australia. He has worked with some of the countries leading performing arts companies, including MTC, The Australian Ballet, Opera Australia, The Production Company and Red Stitch as well as on international productions including WarHorse and Einstein on the Beach.
Some of his design credits include; You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown and Bad Jews [Vass Theatre Group], Songs for a New World [Blue Saint], MEMBER [Fairly Lucid], Frankie and Johnny in the Clair De Lune [Collette Mann/45DS] The Lonely Wolf [Dirty Pretty Theatre/MTC Neon], Therese Raquin [Dirty Pretty Theatre], Avenue Q [Trifle Theatre] Carrie The Musical [Ghost Light] Love, Love, Love, Jumpers for Goalposts, Belleville and Out Of The Water [Red Stitch], Love Letters, Educating Rita, The 39 Steps and They’re Playing Our Song [Hit Productions].
Justin is a sound designer, composer and a graduate of Monash University’s Bachelor of Performing Arts. He also works as a writer and graphic designer.
His sound design credits include Julius Caesar [Essential Theatre], Sex With Strangers [Q44], The Avarice of Boise Plains [Before Shot], Relatively Speaking [Saltpillar Theatre], Welcome to Nowhere [Monash/Malthouse], and TESS [Fringe 2015]. He was assistant to the sound designer on The Lonely Wolf [Dirty Pretty Theatre/MTC Neon].
At Monash University, Justin has collaborated on a variety of projects, including Memento Mori, Awakening, The Late Night Late Show: Live, Slaughterhouse Five, Spy Another Day, Troilus and Cressida, Welcome to Nowhere, and The Handmaid’s Tale.
Marlon is a composer, musician and multi-instrumentalist. He is currently studying a Bachelor of Applied Music (Composition) at Box Hill Institute, and was recently the recipient of a scholarship program which saw him undertake study at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). This is Marlon's first score for a theatrical production, and he is excited to bring the soundscape of True West to life.
Jessica is a completed both her Associate Degree in Design for Theatre and Television (2013) and her Bachelor of Screen and Stage Television Production (2015) at Charles Sturt University. Jessica moved to Melbourne from regional NSW when she was offered a technical role with Circus Oz in 2015. More recently she has worked in corporate events all over Melbourne before returning to theatre for 2016 Melbourne Fringe Festival with One Little Room’s production of Laura Wade’s Breathing Corpses where she fulfilled multiple roles including Stage Manager, Sound/Lighting Operator and Assistant Set Designer under notable designer Valentina Serebrennikova.
Stella is 20 years old. She studied a Diploma of Live Production at Melbourne Polytechnic and graduated in 2015. Earlier this year Stella was the Assistant Stage Manager for The River [Red Stitch]. This is her first year in the industry, and also her first time working with Matchstick Theatre.
Christina is a graduate of Deakin University with a Bachelor of Contemporary Arts and of The Neighborhood Playhouse in NYC. She is an experienced actress across theatre and the small and big screens, credits including The Underwood [Theatre Works], Disjointed Story [Chapel Off Chapel], Proof [Mechanics Institute] and Winners & Losers [Seven Network]. Having recently returned from NYC, she is loving being back in Melbourne and can’t wait to bring Sam Shepard’s classic tale to Melbourne audiences in October.
Vito is a graduate from The University of Ballarat [Now FedUni] Arts Academy, as well as completing his final year of his Masters in Arts, Entertainment and Media managing at RMIT. He is currently touring two shows for Brainstorm Productions along with producing Tudor Roses [Melbourne Fringe Festival] and associate producing True West.
Vito has worked as a Producer, Production manager and Location manager for both film and stage working with Channel 9, Reshet TV [Israel], Beard Season and Channel 31. Production credits include; 2016 Logies Red Carpet Special [Channel 9], The Amazing Race [Reshet TV], I Won’t Dance The Musical [Her Majesty’s Theatre – Ballarat], Connected A New Musical [Alana Bridges] and Stoney End: The Songs of Laura Nyro [Melbourne Midsumma Festival 2016].
Melissa is a graduate of the Conservatorium of Music at Adelaide University. Credits include; Tales of Hoffman [State Opera of South Australia] and most recently she appeared in Children of Eden [Magnormos]. As a producer, Melissa is currently working with Different Gravity Films on their debut feature film Tilt and is delighted to be working with Matchstick Theatre on their production of True West.
Charlie is a 2008 graduate of the Arts Academy at the University of Ballarat and a 2014 graduate of the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre in New York. He is a credited writer and performer with the Melbourne based creative collective Cameralla and has collaborated on projects for Screen Australia, Tropfest, local and international film festivals, as well as online and commercial content.
Theatre credits include; the national tour of Shorter+Sweeter [Regional Arts VIC], regional tour of Big Sky Town [Arts Centre Melbourne/St Martins Theatre], As You Like It, A New York Valentine and Compleat Female Stage Beauty [The Neigborhood Playhouse] and Oriel [La Mama/Ghost Ensemble].
Michael is a graduate of the University of Ballarat Arts Academy and 16th Street Actors Studio. He is an experienced theatre maker having produced over half a dozen productions and self devised works.
His theatre credits include East [Blackwater Theatre], Loose Ends [Doppelganger], Killer Joe [Blackwater Theatre], Fourplay [45 Downstairs / Vicious Fish], The Dreamer Examines His Pillow [Doppelganger], Cherry Smoke [Sol III] The Drover's Wife regional bushfire tour [Australian Classical Theatre] as well as multiple outdoor Shakespeare productions [OZACT] amongst other projects. Film and TV credits include Neighbours [Channel 11], Between Me [Kim Farrant/Independent] and Based On A True Story [The Cameralla] which earned a spot in the top 50 for Tropfest 2015. Michael is half of the comedy duo 'The Lioness' which has performed at corporate functions and the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.
Des Fleming is a native of Cork City, Ireland and is a graduate of the Gaiety School of Acting, Dublin. Des moved to Melbourne in 2002. He has worked extensively in theatre, television and film as well founded, produced and devised works for ITCH Productions.
Stage work includes Juno and the Paycock [Feedback Theatre Company], Anna Karenina [Theatreworks, Ireland], Elephant [10 ELEPHANTS], King Lear [Second Age], Wild Harvest [Fada Theatre Co.], The Passion of Jerome [National Theatre of Ireland], Cult Movie [Project Arts Centre], A Wilde Night [IORC], Orpheus in the Underworld and GUBU 2 [Opera House, Cork], Eureka - The Musical [Her Majesty’s Theatre, Melbourne], Catalpa [ITCH; Nominated for 2 Green Room Awards], Bodybag [ITCH] The Butterfly Catcher [ITCH] and Vieux Carré [ITCH/45 Downstairs].
Film and TV roles include starring as Pete Maguire in the BAFTA award-winning comedy series Custer’s Last Stand Up [BBC], An Tiaracht, the Church of Acceptance, Me Tarzan You Jane and I Can Speak Swedish [FAD Productions]. He has also appeared in Fair City [RTE], Blue Heelers [Channel 7], MDA [ABC], All Saints [Channel 7] and the feature films Laws of Attraction and Dying Breed. Recent TV credits include Jack Irish [ABC], Twentysomething [ABC], The Broken Shore [ABC], Gallipoli [Channel 9] and Neighbours [Channel 11].
Suzanne is best known as a professional voice and performance coach. She has worked in film and T.V. and across all genres of theatre including many musicals, most recently Georgie Girl. Her most recent engagement for the MTC was "Disgraced". She has been on faculty at the University of Melbourne and the VCA School of Drama and a guest teacher at many Drama schools. After a break of 30 years she returned to acting this year in Q44's production of "Sister Cities".
Matchstick Theatre's production of True West received funding from Creative Partners Australia through The Australian Cultural Fund and was a recipient of the Ballarat Arts Foundation funding grant.