subtlenuance

indie company profile: subtlenuance

subtlenuance produces only new Australian writing. Since our inception in 2008 we’ve produced 12 original works. For a non-funded company, we think that’s not a bad effort. The majority of our work is written in-house, by either Daniela Giorgi or myself. But we also collaborate with other local artists. For example, last year we were privileged to produce A Quiet Night in Rangoon by Katie Pollock and Bare Boards Brave Heart which was a collection of solo pieces written by a whole host of Sydney writers. We’re currently looking to make connections with more writers. Our blog has all the details. Why only original work? Is freshness all? No. I think the Sydney theatre scene is remarkably vibrant, and all sorts of fantastic work of all different types is constantly being done. I wish there were more nights in the week to see everything! We do original work simply because there’s so much Daniela and I want to explore ourselves. Our interests are political and philosophical. By political I don’t mean representations of particular situations of injustice. What I mean is that our work explores empowerment and engagement. We live in a less than perfect world. It can be very tempting to think there’s little we can do to make it better. Our plays explore why we are tempted to think this, and how this temptation can be overcome. Let me give an example: In 2009 we produced Catherine at Avignon. Set in fourteenth century France, it re-imagined a moment in the life of Catherine of Siena. Catherine was an extraordinary woman, in some ways a fourteenth century Gandhi. Entirely uneducated, Catherine fearlessly took on kings and queens. Reputedly Catherine spoke directly to God. In creating this piece we adopted a simple conceit. We imagined that at the moment of Catherine’s greatest challenge, the moment she confronted the then leader of the Western world, Pope Gregory, her divine voices left her.

Here’s an excerpt from the script:

Gregory: I don’t want your advice, Catherine. I want you to tell me the will of God. Catherine: Oh, that’s all? Ask Him yourself.

Gregory: I have. Ask Him for me.

Catherine: Here you have the best of everything. The moment you’re hungry, you eat. The moment you’re thirsty, you drink. But you won’t stomach doubt, not for a second. You demand the greatest of all luxuries; certainty……I can’t make it easy. I can’t pretend it’s simple. And I can’t say you should do nothing until you’re sure. And that’s the maddening thing. To do something is a decision. And to do nothing is a decision. And to wait and see is a decision still. That’s our lot in a world we never made. Caught in a shadeless gaze. In an endless desert of doubt. Every moment a choosing, whether we choose it or not. And so let’s make our choosing magnificent. Let’s stare down the sun. In this moment. With this gesture. If heaven won’t reach to us, we must reach to heaven. And so we will fill the great void with goodness.

To put it plainly, subtlenuance has a cultural agenda. We are peddlers of hope. We believe theatre must be entertaining and engaging, but our primary aim is that audiences leave our productions with a sense that, sure, there are problems to be solved, but solutions can be found. We’re about to head down to the Melbourne Fringe with Blind Tasting. Part wine tasting part performance, and presented by the brilliant Sylvia Keays, it’s a fun night. Earlier this year, in Adelaide, the audiences were very generous, giving us tears and laughter in all the right places. But they also told us, over and over, that it got them thinking. Blind Tasting is a coming of age story. Sylvia’s character, Sophie, comes to realize that if our vision of the world is holding us back we must let it go.

Paul Gilchrist

For more information about subtlenuance: www.subtlenuance.com

Blind Tasting @ the Melbourne Fringe Hub

The Loft, Lithuanian Club 44 Errol Street, North Melbourne

Friday 28 September – Friday 5 October

Bookings: www.melbournefringe.com.au or 03 9660 9666

Call for writers and actors - The Political Hearts of Children

From our friends at subtlenuance.

The Political Hearts of Children is an exciting collaborative venture which will be created directly from the personal experiences of the actors involved.

Everyone has childhood stories. This project is based on two beliefs:

that everyone’s stories are valuable;

that it’s our stories of childhood that help us define adulthood.

We’re looking for writers and actors to be part of this innovative new work.

For writers: Check this link to see the details. The deadline for Expression of Interest is Wed 28 Nov.

For actors: We’ve already had an enormous response. Audition offers will be made by Tues 20 Nov, but there’s still time to apply. Check this link for all the details.

Cheers,

Daniela Giorgi

Producer

subtlenuance

indie company profile: subtlenuance

subtlenuance produces only new Australian writing. Since our inception in 2008 we’ve produced 12 original works. For a non-funded company, we think that’s not a bad effort. The majority of our work is written in-house, by either Daniela Giorgi or myself. But we also collaborate with other local artists. For example, last year we were privileged to produce A Quiet Night in Rangoon by Katie Pollock and Bare Boards Brave Heart which was a collection of solo pieces written by a whole host of Sydney writers. We’re currently looking to make connections with more writers. Our blog has all the details. Why only original work? Is freshness all? No. I think the Sydney theatre scene is remarkably vibrant, and all sorts of fantastic work of all different types is constantly being done. I wish there were more nights in the week to see everything! We do original work simply because there’s so much Daniela and I want to explore ourselves. Our interests are political and philosophical. By political I don’t mean representations of particular situations of injustice. What I mean is that our work explores empowerment and engagement. We live in a less than perfect world. It can be very tempting to think there’s little we can do to make it better. Our plays explore why we are tempted to think this, and how this temptation can be overcome. Let me give an example: In 2009 we produced Catherine at Avignon. Set in fourteenth century France, it re-imagined a moment in the life of Catherine of Siena. Catherine was an extraordinary woman, in some ways a fourteenth century Gandhi. Entirely uneducated, Catherine fearlessly took on kings and queens. Reputedly Catherine spoke directly to God. In creating this piece we adopted a simple conceit. We imagined that at the moment of Catherine’s greatest challenge, the moment she confronted the then leader of the Western world, Pope Gregory, her divine voices left her.

Here’s an excerpt from the script:

Gregory: I don’t want your advice, Catherine. I want you to tell me the will of God. Catherine: Oh, that’s all? Ask Him yourself.

Gregory: I have. Ask Him for me.

Catherine: Here you have the best of everything. The moment you’re hungry, you eat. The moment you’re thirsty, you drink. But you won’t stomach doubt, not for a second. You demand the greatest of all luxuries; certainty……I can’t make it easy. I can’t pretend it’s simple. And I can’t say you should do nothing until you’re sure. And that’s the maddening thing. To do something is a decision. And to do nothing is a decision. And to wait and see is a decision still. That’s our lot in a world we never made. Caught in a shadeless gaze. In an endless desert of doubt. Every moment a choosing, whether we choose it or not. And so let’s make our choosing magnificent. Let’s stare down the sun. In this moment. With this gesture. If heaven won’t reach to us, we must reach to heaven. And so we will fill the great void with goodness.

To put it plainly, subtlenuance has a cultural agenda. We are peddlers of hope. We believe theatre must be entertaining and engaging, but our primary aim is that audiences leave our productions with a sense that, sure, there are problems to be solved, but solutions can be found. We’re about to head down to the Melbourne Fringe with Blind Tasting. Part wine tasting part performance, and presented by the brilliant Sylvia Keays, it’s a fun night. Earlier this year, in Adelaide, the audiences were very generous, giving us tears and laughter in all the right places. But they also told us, over and over, that it got them thinking. Blind Tasting is a coming of age story. Sylvia’s character, Sophie, comes to realize that if our vision of the world is holding us back we must let it go.

Paul Gilchrist

For more information about subtlenuance: www.subtlenuance.com

Blind Tasting @ the Melbourne Fringe Hub

The Loft, Lithuanian Club 44 Errol Street, North Melbourne

Friday 28 September – Friday 5 October

Bookings: www.melbournefringe.com.au or 03 9660 9666

subtlenuance - solely dedicated to the creation and production of new Australian work.

“a small, fiercely independent company of proven integrity…[their work] augurs well, not only for subtlenuance’s future as a distinctive, important, independent voice in Australian theatre, but for the future of Australian theatre at large.” Australian Stage Online

“subtlenuance is one of Sydney’s most vital, active, prolific and innovative small production companies.” Crikey

subtlenuance is a writers’ company that predominantly produces in-house material. However, every year, for the last few years, we’ve put out a call for scripts.

We’re very keen to make working connections with like-minded artists.

This year we’re going to do things a little differently.

This year we’re asking interested writers to initially submit only a synopsis of their play. This synopsis should be no longer than 500 words and it should make apparent the tone and genre of the piece.

Why?

Recently a friend said something like: “If a play was brilliant, wouldn’t you put it on even if it was about stamp collecting?”

The simple answer is “No, we wouldn’t”. [No offence intended to the philatelists amongst us].

The more complex answer is that we believe content and theme are extremely important. We produce plays that are political and philosophical. We are not a funded company. We are not pursuing careers. We have a cultural agenda.

If you have a play about issues political or philosophical, we’d love to see a synopsis, and if it’s the sort of thing we’re keen on, we’ll ask for the entire script.

A few things you need to know:

  • We’re not interested in evaluating your work. If we don’t choose to read your script, or don’t choose to help you produce it, we’re not saying it’s no good – so please don’t interpret it that way!!!!!!
  • We are not funded. If you write plays to make money you probably should look elsewhere.
  • We do not buy into the idea of the hierarchy of venues. Good work can be produced on the STC stage. It can also be produced in someone’s lounge room.
  • Please look at our website to know more about us www.subtlenuance.com

If the above attitudes speak to you, please send a synopsis of your play, or any enquiries, to our artistic director Paul Gilchrist at subtlenuance28@yahoo.com.au

We believe the Sydney theatre scene is vibrant and exciting – we look forward to making more connections with passionate artists.

GUEST BLOGGER #4: PAUL GILCHRIST ON LUCY BLACK

I asked Paul Gilchrist, Artistic Director of subtlenuance, to talk a bit about his latest productionLucy Black, which is currently running at TAP Gallery.

Lucy Black is set in an imagined renaissance world. This is the third play we’ve produced set in a non-contemporary world. Previously we’ve visited medieval France [Catherine at Avignon] and 1940’s New York [Life is Impossible].

I enjoy these imagined worlds because they free me up to write bigger – bloody, bawdy and, hopefully, beautifully.

Lucy is a strong woman. Her physician father is gone. She scrapes together a living through her skerricks of medical lore. She watches with concern as her exuberant younger sister makes her first steps into adulthood.

And these are troubled times. Strangers have appeared in the village and one makes an extraordinary suggestion; that they dissect a human body. Dangerous, illegal, but very lucrative, Lucy considers the plan, unaware of its shocking cost.

The inspiration for Lucy Black first came from my reading of Thomas Browne.

A contemporary of Shakespeare, Browne was a doctor and was present at a dissection in Bologna.

Not that Lucy is a work of historical naturalism. Pedantic historians would have a field day with it!

The play is the story of competing worldviews.

Lucy’s sister, Judith, says,

A great battle’s being fought, Lucy; to erase all the dragons. But when we erase them, they’ll only become invisible, and more difficult to slay.”

Perhaps this battle happened in the “historical” world of the play, perhaps it did not, but it certainly happens now. Between individuals, and within individuals.

Our worldview, or mental furniture, matters.

As Judith says,

When our thoughts are small, it is we who suffer for it.”

Perhaps, for me, the most poignant moment in the play is when Thomas, the butcher, who has proposed the dissection, says to Lucy “We do not have the tools to find such a thing.” I can’t tell you what that “thing” is without the biggest spoiler of all time, butfor me it’s a heart-wrenching statement of the importance of our worldview. What does our particular worldview enable us to see? What does it empower us to do?

subtlenuance is interested fundamentally in work that is political and philosophical. The raison détente for the company’s existence is to impact on our culture.

We have a wonderful team of artists working on this project. I appreciate the courage needed to be involved in the creation of original work.And we’re always grateful for those who come to see our material. It is an enormous privilege to have audiences for new work.

Paul Gilchrist

Lucy Black

til 3 June

www.subtlenuance.com

Artist(s) of the Week - Paul Gilchrist and Daniela Giorgi

This is a special combined interview this week of the couple that run subtlenuance, an independent theatre company dedicated to original new Australian work.

What are you working on currently?

Paul: Subtlenuance is about to announce our 2012 season: four original works we’re very excited about. And rehearsals have begun for Blind Tasting, the show we’re producing at the Adelaide Fringe. Part performance, part wine tasting, it features the extraordinary Sylvia Keays. We’re hoping to take the audience on both a funny and moving exploration of the whole idea of judgement.

We’re also currently accepting script submissions for our Bare Boards Brave Heart festival of solo performances. We did this for the first time last year and got a great response, from both artists and audiences. The idea is to strip theatre right back – no sets, no props, no effects, just an actor owning the stage.

Daniela: I’m writing the umpteenth draft of Friday, a play we’re producing this year. It’s about politics and engagement and how we’d often rather be doing something else - but if we don’t get involved then we get stuck with a world made by the crazy people. And I don’t want to wake up to that!

I’m also trying to work out how to get our production of Blind Tasting, which we’re taking to the Adelaide Fringe, into my Jetstar carry-on luggage. Fortunately, I believe theatre is produced by imagination, which weighs nothing.

2. Who, or what, inspires you to create?

Paul: Shelley wrote “Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world.” I think it’s true of all artists. We are culture creators.  Truth telling, or holding a mirror up to society, is only part of what we do. We also make offerings. Plays are expressions of worldviews -not opinions or political posturings, that’s the job of the essay or article- but complete visions. So a play is a gift to an audience: this worldview has given me so much, I want to share it with you.

Daniela: Working artists, environmental activists, politicians, doctors in refugee camps, plumbers. People that turn up every day and get things done.

3. What was the most interesting thing you saw recently?

Paul: The Boys at Griffin. Magnificent production. If you believe that the role of the artist is either to acknowledge the suffering in the world or to offer solutions, then this play will give you a lot to talk about.

Daniela: Thyestes. A stunning visual production and wonderfully performed but seemingly unconscious of its nihilism and misogyny. Had me talking about it for hours afterwards. That’s what I call good theatre.

4. What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

Paul: My dad says “Most people don’t know what they’re talking about.” He’s not being contrary. He’s simply suggesting that claims of expertise should be regarded with suspicion. As a dramatist, I say listen to everyone’s advice. Don’t necessarily act on it. Just listen. You’ll learn so much about human desires and our unacknowledged assumptions.

Anias Nin said something like: “Don’t write to gain the approval of others. Our society doesn’t need it. And neither do you.” Wanting validation puts you constantly in the power of others. And sometimes all other people want from you is your silence.

Daniela: “Take a chill pill. You’ll get nothing done if you subscribe to stress.” That piece of advice has led to a whole series of New Year’s resolutions as I try to wrench that particular monkey off my back.

5. Who, past or present, would you like to share a meal with and why?

Paul: Everyone who’s come to a subtlenuance production over the last four years and all the fantastic artists we’ve worked with. We do only original work, which is exhilarating, but you have to be especially open to risk to be part of the mix. I’m very grateful to everyone who’s been up for that. I reckon I owe a lot of people at least a meal.

Daniela: Past: Simone De Beauvoir – French existentialist philosopher and revolutionary author of The Second Sex who famously said:One is not born a woman, but becomes one.” She hung out with Sartre at the Café Les Deux Magots in Paris. So I think I would just have the coffee.

Present: Stephanie Dowrick - Inspiring contemporary writer who says about courage: “No work of art is created without it.” I love that writers are brave enough to give voice to their ideas. I love that actors are brave enough to take risks on stage. I love that producers are brave enough to put on shows that audiences might not like. It takes courage to speak out. The old saying goes ‘Most people would rather be in the box than giving the eulogy.’ I’d rather give the eulogy.

Check out subtlenuance at their website http://www.subtlenuance.com/ or check them out on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/subtlenuancetheatre

Bare Boards Brave Heart

Want the challenge of writing a monologue for an empty stage? You can have an actor, of course, but that’s about it. If you’re intrigued, check out indie theatre company subtlenuance and the application for their second year of ‘Bare Boards Brave Heart’, a festival of works for solo performers.

subtlenuance is inviting writers to submit scripts that are:

  •  designed to be performed by a single actor.
  •  between 5 and 25 minutes in running time.
  •  original and not previously performed.
  •  not extracts from larger works, but are self-contained and complete.
  •  not reliant on lighting or sound effects or props or set.
  • of any genre, but explore the theme “engagement”.

Applications close Thursday 5 April 2012.

To find our more check out their blog here.