An eccentric, teasing yarn of a play from the multi-award winning author of The Weir, Canberra’s The Street Theatre will present St Nicholas by award-winning Irish playwright, Conor McPherson, this June.
McPherson’s chilling and spellbinding vampire tale features the playwright’s trademark mixture of philosophy, flawed characters, humour, sadness, and powerful lyrical language. The play’s protagonist, a cynical theatre critic, abandons his ordinary life to pursue a young actress from Dublin to London where he meets a group of modern-day vampires who offer him eternal life.
Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, The Street is staging the play using vimeo to stream live performances from its theatre for audiences to enjoy in homes. Creatives are working together with The Street, as it looks to new ways of delivering and making work in a public performance space with current restrictions while crafting the feeling of being in the theatre with actors.
Three cameras capture the words, gestures and drama created and performed by actor and musician over two acts. Directed by Shelly Higgs, award-winning actor Craig Alexander ((Venus in Fur, War of the Worlds, Tourmaline) takes on the role of a jaded theatre critic whose mid-life crisis includes an encounter with vampires.
“I think it’s important to continue sharing stories in whatever form we can,” says Craig Alexander. “Artists adapt and there’s been a surge in experimentation and engagement in the online space, highlighting this desire to come together, to share a story around our virtual fires.”
Alexander shares the stage with singer-songwriter, and storyteller himself, Den Hanrahan, creating a creepy atmosphere with music steeped in blues, roots and electronic sounds. The production is designed by Imogen Keen (Flight Memory, Metamorphosis), who is tasked with creating a liveness for an online space, including bleeding walls!
“Liveness is key for us; how do we transport live theatre to hundreds of different living rooms with the same presence and integrity as in a physically shared space?” says Director Shelly Higgs. “The audience needs to be a part of it.”
As theatres and their artists adapt creatively to change, opening up live performance possibilities in online spaces, audiences who gather to see St Nicholas can expect to be on the edge of their seats with this thriller-like unravelling of a tale and witty storytelling about arrogance, power and responsibility.
“A delectably droll celebration of storytelling as striptease. McPherson’s ear for detail is devastating.” – New York Times
Director: Shelly Higgs Featuring: Craig Alexander Musician: Den Hanrahan Production Design: Imogen Keen Dialect Coach: Christopher Samuel Carroll
St Nicholas will be performed live from The Street Theatre, Canberra and streamed via Vimeo: Friday 5 – Sunday 7 June 2020. For more information, visit: www.thestreet.org.au or www.saintnicholas.com.au for details.
Image: St Nicholas (supplied)