The Albury Wodonga Theatre Company’s (AWTCo) latest production, Ladies Night, promises a night of entertainment including some male stripping. But as director, Christine Duff told Border Cafe, behind the laughs, there are important messages.
First staged in Auckland, New Zealand in 1987 with an award winning adaptation in Paris in 2001, Anthony McCarten and Stephen Sinclair’s play, Ladies Night, has been translated into at least twelve languages, and has been a popular choice for theatre companies throughout the world.
Christine Duff, said directing the play about a group of unemployed workers who develop a strip show to make some quick cash was the realisation of a long held goal.
“It’s a show that I found about ten years ago and has been in my proverbial back pocket as one that I must do one day,” Christine said.
“I am thrilled at not only the opportunity to direct it but also that it’s an opportunity to highlight some really important messages.
“It’s essentially a comedy with a little bit of stripping at the end but it is a play that addresses men’s mental health issues – talking about feelings, how to handle hardships and matters of the heart, then also how they can re-form their identity,” Christine said.
Christine said rehearsing in the space the show will be performed in has been a bonus, but the play has presented some challenges for director and actors.
“From a staging point of view there are no surprises, but it’s the first time I’ve directed a mostly male cast … there is one woman, Glenda (Helen Lockhart), and also for the actors who have to strip. But they were prepared for this because it was clear from the time they auditioned, that they would have to do this. We’ve got them down to their jocks!”
The play brings a number of familiar faces back to the AWTCo stage and also some new names including Kazmer Harangozo (Barry and co-director) who worked on the newest Blade Runner movie, Blade Runner 2049.
Christine said a greater motivation for many of the cast members to be involved is that the play is the perfect vehicle to highlight the men’s mental health issues.
“Each of the characters has their own issue to deal – with and we see them working through them and coming up with some solutions,” she said.
The benefits of bringing men’s mental health issues to the fore goes beyond the stage with four local organisations selling tickets for performances as a fundraiser. It will be presented on separate nights for Wodonga Rotary, Zonta Club of Albury/Wodonga, Brave Hearts on the Murray and Carevan. Each of the groups has 100 tickets for their group and will receive 75 per cent of the profits back from their ticket sales.
Ladies Night rated MA15+ will be presented in a cabaret style where patrons can BYO nibbles. Drinks will be available from the bar.
Details: 7:30pm Friday 1 and Saturday 2 December, AWTco – 23 Olive Street, South Albury Bookings http://www.awtco.org.au/