/ Sunday Arts Magazine / Arts / Legends–Alan Hopgood & John Bell, Lady Eats Apple, Edgar Wegner


David and Brendan have a stellar show today where they interview 2 acting legends–Alan Hopgood and John Bell– as well as other great guests.  Neil is in, but is behind the scenes doing the panelling. First topic today is the AFL Grand Final between the Western Bulldogs and Sydney Swans with the theme of sport bringing people together which arts can also do. Today there is also a lot of chat throughout about Shakespeare’s plays. Brendan reviews the film I Am Not a Serial Killer which is in limited release at Cinema Nova. It’s a horror movie with some very black humour–3 stars.

Our very special guests today are:

08:21 to 26:18 mins–Actor and writer Alan Hopgood has had a career in the film, TV and theatre industries for about 60 years now with a myriad of acting and writing credits–starring in shows such as Bellbird and Neighbours and writing, the ever infamous, Alvin Purple and the play-And The Big Men Fly (about AFL footy). He talks of his inspirations, tells anecdotes about the industries and some historical info about famous theatres and TV serials. In the last 20 years Alan has written 11 ‘health plays’ for his theatre Company Health Play which began with a book and play about his own battle with prostate cancer.  Despite the subject matter there is a lot of humour and positivity in them. He found it a great way to get a health message across, especially for men, and has toured widely with them. He is starring in his one-man play The Carer which is on at the Alex Theatre in St Kilda on 8 October. Bud Tingwell had played the character previously. It’s about a man who had cared for his wife (now deceased) while she was suffering Alzheimer’s and is wondering ‘What now?’

27:06 to 37:22 mins–Actor, Director and Producer John Bell is a legend in Australian theatre who has given audiences a wonderful body of work over the decades. Based in Sydney, John started the Nimrod Theatre in 1970 and then the Bell Shakespeare Company in 1990 which he ran for 25 years–touring cities but also schools, rural and remote areas and prisons. He talks about Shakespeare plays, considering them as always being relevant; and also tells how young audiences have received them.  John’s latest venture is in a show called Speak Less Than You Know  where he and the Tinalley String Quartet will be exploring the words and music of Beethoven on 4 October at the Melbourne Recital Centre.  John will read from Beethoven’s letters and memoirs while the musicians interweave this with Beethoven’s String Quartets.  The words give the music a different dimension because you know what he was going through at the time of composing it.

38:57 to 1:01:47 mins–Bruce Gladwin is Artistic Director of the Back To Back Theatre Company, which has artists who have disabilities, and is here to talk about his play Lady Eats Apple which he wrote and directed.  It’s part of the Melbourne Festival and is on at the Arts Centre- Hamer Hall from 8 to 13 October–after which it will go to Perth , Sydney and then, in 2017,  to Vienna and Germany. The show is in 3 acts and is about the inevitability of death and how we create myths and illusions around it to fortify our relationship with it.  The First Act is to do with a god in the act of creation–reminiscent of Genesis; the Second Act in medieval Europe and the Third Act involves a group of cleaners who are cleaning Hamer Hall! Despite being a tragedy it also has humour. It is a remarkable play where the audience sit on the stage with headphones on watching looking into the cavern of the auditorium which has a huge inflatable set piece in it as well as the actors.

1:02:42 to 1:29:27 mins–Edgar Wegner has been a drama teacher for 25 years and for the last 6 years has been at Mac.Robertson Girls’ High School–a very supportive school.  Drama teaching is his passion as well as singing in Latvian choirs!!  Only a few students go into tertiary performing arts! But the course is invaluable because they learn  interpersonal skills, creativity, presentation skills and continue to develop skills in teamwork, learning from mistakes, voice, movement, gesture etc. Amazingly enough–with reference to previous guests–the Year 9s have Bell Shakespeare Co. coming to them each year and the Year 10 & 11s are going to see Bruce’s play Lady Eats Apple and will be assessed on the review they write! Edgar likes taking them to see small-scale and original theatre, not just the larger ones and blockbusters.  He prepares his students for these plays beforehand and finds they deal very well with them.


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