(extra)ordinary, (un)usual III
(extra)ordinary (un)usual lll – Monologue Project – New Theatre
The Buzz from Sydney
May 15 2015
The third installment of (extra)ordinary (un)usual debuted on Wednesday night at the New Theatre, with a host of new skits.
Created and produced by Pete Malicki, who finds his material in the everyday and the not so everyday, and weaves these elements of life into absurd, hilarious snapshots. Stories range from a demented office worker’s daily grind, to the sexually confused victim of a scam, these innocuous scenarios provide hugely funny results when given the Malicki treatment.
The audience is given a teaser of what is to come when one of the characters (Debbie Neilson as an obsessive bride) roams the lobby before the show looking for her groom. There are some familiar faces in (extra)ordinary (un)usual lll, like Rosemary Ghazi and Raechel Carlsen, but also some new faces: Matt Friedman and Luke Reeves and a very amusing Glenn Wanstall, who becomes possessed by various Greek Gods while speed dating.
There are too many highlights to mention, and I don’t want to give away any plot spoilers, but the stories are inspired: funny, heartbreaking and often with twists that you don’t see coming. Malicki has fulfilled his brief and given us a show that is as good as any mainstream entertainment, with a very talented young cast.
Featuring: Debbie Neilson, Glenn Wanstall, Luke Reeves, Matt Friedman, Raechel Carlsen, Tiffany Hoy, Yannick Lawry and Miss Suzie Q. Introduced by Katrina Papadopoulos.
Written and directed by Pete Malicki.
(extra)ordinary (un)usual lll is on again Wed, 20 and 27 May at the New Theatre, Newtown. For more information and tickets see : www.monologues.com.au/
(EXTRA)ORDINARY, (UN)USUAL – PETE MALICKI AND THEATRE TO KICK BACK TO. (THEATRE REVIEW)
POSTED BY LISATHATCHER ON MAY 26, 2015 IN THEATRE
New Theatre, Newtown
Three shows Wed 13,20,27 May
There are many reasons to go to the theatre, but perhaps the most common one is to be enthralled and entertained, with a good dose of giggle added in. It’s a cliché (and a bourgeois condescension) to state that theatre should be ‘for the everyman’ but it is rare that theatre is able to bridge the gap between catering to elite monied patrons and putting on a slapping good show you’d go to rather than attend the football that weekend.
Enter Pete Malicki and his endlessly entertaining monologue show, (extra)ordinay, (un)usual. Now in its third installment, (extra)ordinary, (un)usual is Pete’s brainchild; an annual installment of some of the best contemporary monologues on the circuit. Pete is a high-profile on the Sydney scene with his workshops, his contribution to schools and his now (in)famous monologue project. He is also that rarest of special creatures, an artist that makes an independent living from his career. He’s a fine writer, the recipient of many awards and one of the rising stars competing for that illustrious commendation – one of the most performed playwrights in the world. His monologues are one of the highlights of his writing, something he has given time, thought and practise to, developing an ever-growing sense of theatrical confidence in creating his own special brand of theatre.
(extra)ordinary,(un)usual is always a fun night at the theatre, but it’s equally accurate to say every year these shows get better. Pete writes, stages, directs and produces the shows himself (with a talented cast of course) and manages to sell out every year. A show I particularly loved this year (no spoilers!) involved the synchronised cry of three checkout chicks for acknowledgement of their individuality in the face of their replacement by self checkouts, a concept I found particularly appealing, and cleverly wrought. Pete Malicki has a talent for profundity in the everyday, and in this short play especially, he is able to eek out some thoughtful depth from the funny story-tale banter that he is famous for. It’s in these flashes that Malicki really shines as a writer, revealing a depth that he previously shied away from in favour of an all out energy-as-entertainment aesthetic. Pete Malicki shows us that entertainment doesn’t have to leave thinkers at the door, and as he gets better and better the monologues become more interesting mostly because they tap into a universal that involves us in a shared humanity. One of the most exciting things about attending The Monologue Project every year is watching his style develop into an artistic trade mark that will be impossible to beat.
But all that aside, there is plenty to be had for a very fun, very affordable night at the theatre in version three of (extra)ordinary,(un)usual. Topics given the Malicki touch include an office worker driven to extreme actions through enforced insomnia, a comic/tragic young man committed to rescue a trapped princess, an agoraphobe determined to step outside on their psychiatrists orders as part of their therapy (this particular skit is enhanced by recent tragic events that cause the audience to really think about their daily safety) and a tale filled with twists and turns playing constantly with audience assumptions based around two men who meet in a gay bar. After interval, we are tossed into the ring with a very funny Glenn Wanstall who plays a modest paper seller at a speed dating who suddenly becomes the battleground for possession by a horde of Greek Gods, we join a masochistic bride who only wants the wedding, not the marriage, and will do anything to repeat her fabulous day, Princess Peach from Super Mario Brothers giving us a good dose of the real (this was another favourite of mine – I’d love to see more combinations of gaming culture and theatre) rounding it all off with the aforementioned visit to Coles. The actors are all spot on (if there is one thing Pete does well, its direct a monologue) bringing an enormous committment and energy to each individual project. There are some familiar faces, and some new ones, including Debbie Neilson, Glenn Wanstall, Luke Reeves, Matt Friedman, Raechel Carlsen, Rosemary Ghazi, Tiffany Hoy, Yannick Lawry and Miss Suzie Q who all come to vibrant life under the Malicki touch.
If you’re new to theatre, or think theatre is too pretentious at the best of times, then (extra)ordinary,(un)usual is the show to debunk that idea and welcome you with open arms to the stable. It’s especially made to be enjoyed, to make you laugh and to make you think just that tiny weeny little bit – and that can’t hurt too much can it?
(extra)ordinary, (un)usual III - New Theatre Sydney
May 16 2015
Event: 13/05/2015 - 27/05/2015
Dramatic entertainment at its best
The Monologue Project's stage show '(extra)ordinary, (un)usual III' showcases Australia's leading monologues and featuring the award-winning work of author/playwright Pete Malicki performed by Sydney's best stage actors.
The doors open and guests take to their seats, greeted to the sight of an actor asleep in a chair with a blanket draped over on top. Another curious sight is the body curled in the corner of the room.
With good advice to turn off the phones during the two acts of 4x monologues each and an intermission to refill our glasses. We settle into our comfy seats, sip our wine and await for the first act.
The sleeping actor, Luke Reeves in the chair wakes and we are introduced to Gordon's life filled with perpetual noise. The neighbour's annoying leafblower (I can relate to this), his loud work colleagues, crying babies, loud TVs, noisy possums and the hooting owl. His only saving grace is the one silent morning each week. Quiet Friday. But when the neighbour starts renovating their kitchen and bathroom, Gordon starts losing the plot.
The lights go out and Miss Suzie Q in her first ever acting role is on the stage. Suzie immerses herself into the role of someone suffering from severe social anxiety. Voicing the perils of stepping out of the house into the harsh sunlight and the listing the possible dangers of walking to the nearby bus stop. Re-telling excepts of her psychologist's advice, she pushes forward to her goal of buying her favourite Lindt dark chocolate. An eye opening performance to social phobia.
Leaping into action is Captain Everything (played by Matt Friedman), the superhero of all superheroes, on his quest to rescue Princess Prettyface. His wild fast paced adventure will keep you literally on your toes as he swings between scenes of Star Wars, Batman, fighting Kraken only for the story to end with a terrible twist but that is for you hear and not for me to tell.
It's a change of scenery with Yannick Lawry who plays Paul, an English everyday family man. Married with two kids, works in accounting, watches the cricket and loves a good chutney. But when he (accidentally) goes to a gay bar and meets the charismatic Ian, he is seduced into the world of his new friend. A dangerous consuming obsession starts to grow but who will have the last laugh?
The world of speed dating won't be seen the same again as Glenn Wanstall who plays Harold Borgenstein is unexpectedly possessed by not one but nine Greek Gods. The constantly changing personalities shine through their host who only comes to and is bewildered at the confrontation he's subjected to.
Pretty in pink, Rosemary Ghazi is Princess Peach of Mario Bros fame. Throwing a party at her Mushroom Kingdom, Peach's personality which is generally sweet and well mannered, lets her hair down to see her true colours. Often seen as the damsel distress, and kidnapped on a weekly basis, will she thwart Bowser's latest kidnapping attempt and keep her real persona under wraps?
A wedding day is the happiest day of a bride's life or is it? Is it a let down when the day's over? Debbie Neilson plays out the story of a young woman's desperate search for happiness or is she destined to be the serial bride.
Wearing the universal black and white uniform, actresses Tiffany Hoy, Raechel Carlsen, Rosemary Ghazi all work at Coles. Appearing to hate their jobs you come to learn they have done far worse. Working for Coles is the top of the bottom. Conveyed to be nothing but a robot being phased out by other robots, a timely reminder of where things are heading.
Unbelievably riveting performances. Drawn immediately into each and every actor's world through their well scripted monologue. Whether it is of the anguish of sleep deprived Gordan to what would seem to be a schizophrenic Harold, the twists and turns of Captain Everything or revealing the real Princess Peach.
I seriously recommend you buy tickets to the show. Be taken into another world and step into their shoes for the next hour or so and see how it ends.
Review: (Extra)ordinary, (Un)usual Episode III (The Monologue Project)
May 21 2015
New Theatre (Newtown NSW)
May 13 – 27, 2015
Playwright: Pete Malicki
Director: Pete Malicki
Cast: Debbie Neilson, Glenn Wanstall, Luke Reeves, Matt Friedman, Raechel Carlsen, Rosemary Ghazi, Tiffany Hoy, Yannick Lawry, Miss Suzie Q
The production comprises eight monologues, all written and directed by Pete Malicki. His writing is mainly concerned with the ordinariness of Australian lives, but he delves into fantastical inventions on occasion, to create stories that aim to entertain and amuse. Malicki finds the small and mundane parts of existence and places them in the spotlight. His characters all seem neurotic, as their solitude allows them to reveal their deepest idiosyncrasies. The programme is a light-hearted one, with little room for gloom or poignancy, but it does offer social observations through sarcastic jabs and slapstick comedy.
Malicki’s direction is not particularly versatile, but he ensures that each segment is energetic and vibrantly quirky. He has a knack for extracting confident and quite wild performances from his cast, all of whom appear to bubble with excitement when placed centre stage. Glenn Wanstall’s performance in That Time Harold Borgenstein Went Speed Dating And Got Taken Over By All Of The Greek Gods, is impressively athletic and irresistibly funny. The actor’s intuition is remarkably precise, and the level of conviction he displays is entirely captivating...
(extra)ordinary, (un)usual II
The Buzz from Sydney
May 21 2014
Monologue Project is an Australian endeavour that includes live performances which have been performed all around the world, including the West End and the Edinburgh Fringe. They have won a total of 12 major awards at nationwide and international events, and after you see them in action, you’ll know why.
I went to the New Theatre not only exhausted, but with some trepidation at seeing something billed as (un)usual. Sometimes unusual is a good thing, sometimes not so much. Last night it was not good, it was bloody great. Written mostly by Pete Malicki, the show includes seven monologues and one skit, and was kicked off by a whinging Edmund Hillary as he climbs Everest. This was a hilarious rendering of Hillary’s ascent and the trials he faced, including losing his thesaurus, and discovering what the stew is made out of.
Subsequent first act monologues include a man who has super smelling abilty: Captain Nausea and his scents of despair as he relives his darkest moments through his olfactory senses; Steve the addict, and Corrine the Coles checkout chick who is dying to tell her customers the real truth about them, while secretly wishing to work at Aldi. Though several of these monologues are listed as drama, they are bitingly funny and leave the audience wanting much more.
The second act features some paranormal activity in Darkest Moment , when Gilly discovers people’s worst selves upon touching them, and on a lighter note, Alicia from Argentina and the brilliant Rosemary Ghazi as a foster child turned soldier. Her miserable fate is to bring death to all around her, including a rescue mission, which should be tragic but is hilarious.
The final skit is a bonus and is a very amusing game of one upmanship between neighbours that veers out of control. Keeping up with the Jones’ has never been funnier, as Ted and Jim are both desperate to assume socio-economic superiority.
Featuring Rosemary Ghazi, Sam Jenkins, James Hartley, Mikaela Franco, Matt Thomson, Charlotte Connor, Leof Kingsford-Smith, Louise Wildman, and Lewis Scamozzi as the host of the evening.
If you get the chance to see Malicki’s plays, grab it, they are well worth it. (If you wear make-up, put on waterproof mascara, as you are likely to leave the theatre crying from laughing so much).
Extraordinary Unusual II @ New Theatre, Newtown
by Nicole Arathoon
The extraordinary and unusual
Extraordinary, Unusual II certainly is a perfect title for the latest production by director and writer Pete Malicki, founder of The Monologue Project. Showcasing at New Theatre, Newtown on Wednesday 14th May and 21st May the cast members cleverly open your eyes to the extraordinary and unusual complexities of humanity.
Eight monologues take the audience on a journey through the lives of nine very real humans living and existing in their extraordinary and unusual world. Starting and ending with the most humourous and lighthearted of the monologues but filling out the girth of the 80 minute show with darkness and intense emotion.
Sir Edmund Hilary opens the show with his extraordinary climb to the summit of Mt Everest with his ever trusting sherpa by his side accommodating every hilarious whim. The audience then shifts pace to open the door into the unusual and turbulent life of a young man consumed by addiction. Next, The Devil's Aftershave draws the audience into the dark mind of a scent sensitive victim who details the trauma of his existence in a very smelly and disturbing world of abuse. Act One concludes with a thought provoking glance at the mundane life of a Coles checkout girl who cleverly sings the jingle "down, down…" as the lights go down and she exits stage left.
Act Two begins with five characters seated, facing away from the audience. We are first introduced to a young Argentinian girl with the unusual vocation as a hired crier for funerals to entice the guests to also cry and let go of emotion. Followed by intense exposure into the extraordinary disorder consumed life of a woman who faces the ultimate reality of her condition. To lighten the mood Flowers takes the audience on a journey into the colourful yet tortured life of a young girl with an unusual and deathly existence. Bringing the production to a close is the special surprise performance, hilariously depicting the competitive nature of humanity today in our unusual suburban, upper class neighbourhoods.
Pete Malicki's, The Monologue Project is a fascinating way to experience snippets of confronting subject matter, to be drawn into thinking or seeing something in a different way and questioning "How do they exist in that life?", to be exposed to the extraordinary and unusual in the lives of regular people around us.
(extra)ordinary, (un)usual I
(extra)ordinary, (un)usual at New Theatre
by Naomie Nguyen
Event: 07/11/2013 - 08/11/2013
Extraordinary stories for the ordinary audience
(extra)ordinary, (un)usual is a beautifully crafted and delivered selection of monologues, performed at the New Theatre in Newtown in mid-November.
The monologues are an eclectic variety of original and contrasting monologues, all well written by award-winning Australian playwright Pete Malicki. Each monologue features a different protagonist with a different situation, bringing the project a wonderful freshness of transition and a sense of the world around us.
These performances are also brought to life so believably and intricately by a talented cast, of Rosemary Ghazi (Co-Producer), Sarah North, Nat Backhouse, Scott Grimley, Charlotte Connor, Jessica Heath, Eliza St John and Lewis Scamozzi. The cast each spectacularly convey their character's personalities so well, whether it be through the unbearably hilarious delivery of Malicki's humour or the animated prodding of society and life the way we know it.
Malicki's scripts are strong across all the Monologues performed - each performance has its own mood and setting. The opening performance was the comedy 'V.D.', which left audience members in stitches with lines such as "Did you ever notice how Valentine's Day shares the same initials as venereal disease?" and deals with the suspicion that arises when the protagonist receives a Valentine's gift from an unknown admirer. This script is electric performed by Eliza St John, whose personality and talent is stunningly showcased in this stellar performance.
Another standout script is 'The Flowers', which confronts audiences with the darkly despairing situation of the main character who suffers from everyone and everything around him dying upon contact. The quirky, thought-provoking and intriguing premises that these monologues are based on are developed through astonishing arcs with considerable characterisation for a ten-minute play with just one actor per performance.
The whole performance, although composed of several smaller ones, was also very well connected through each character's oddities of situation, but also through the delightful hosting of Lewis Scamozzi. Transitions were clean and professional and the project was a pleasure to attend, from start to finish. The venue itself was a pleasure to be in as well, and its intimate space further developed the monologues.
The confronting nature of many of the monologues and the realistic protagonists make for more than just entertainment - the monologues are provoking yet appealing. It's a perfect performance to attend for a taste of exhilarating clarity in what we would see as otherwise 'normal' people's lives. Strong language and mild drug references however mean that these performances are recommended for a mature audience, although older teenagers and drama students could greatly benefit from the experience of Malicki's intelligent script writing and the cast's inspiring performances.
Overall, it was an astonishingly brilliant night of theatre that was truly inspiring, and I was very glad to catch it in this season. Its popularity led to a successful season this November but they may possibly return in May 2014.
The Monologue Project Presents (extra)ordinary, (un)usual
Monday, 11 November 2013
The Monologue Projects are award winning monologues by Pete Malicki. They are about ordinary people telling extraordinary stories or extraordinary people who are trying to be ordinary. Are they interesting and entertaining? Most certainly!
Producer of The Monologue Project, Pete Malicki, says,
"There is a serious lack of contemporary material out there for actors, particularly high school students, who often struggle to find a relevant monologue for their exams. My aim as both a writer and producer is to showcase excellent monologues which will captivate and entertain regular theatregoers and newcomers alike, as well as create opportunities for established and next-generation actors to perform great monologues and build their professional careers."
The performance had seven actors and eight monologues.
It starts with Eliza St John and a monologue V.D., she returns at the end to finish of the night. V.D. is a comic monologue, it starts off as a look into Valentine’s Day and the feelings you get when you have an unknown admirer, however it ends on a more serious subject. I won't say what because if you should ever see it I will have ruined in end.
Jessica Heath - Frenemy who is currently an HSC student and is very talented. This was quite a disturbing monologue which tackled some issues that some would not dare.
Charlotte Connor - Screams and Whispers another comical monologues, is she a horse whisperer or not?
Scott Grimpley - A Psychopath, no you wouldn't want to meet him down an dark alley.
Nat Backhouse - Dragula another very funny monologue on really, the best way to pick up women! Rosemary Ghazi - The Flowers, Rosemary is a very good actress and this monologue is very well done and written.
And finally Sarah North - Shallow, Quick which was less memorable than the others.
All in all it was a great night out. Sadly is was only on for two nights. Hopefully Pete will bring it back with more hilarious monologues. Keep an eye on their website - www.monologues.com.au
- Philippa Bird
(extra)ordinary, (un)usual – Pete Malicki and the power of one. (Theatre Review)
Posted on November 8, 2013
The survival of theatre in the digital age is an ongoing conversation; lows pitted are against highs, optimism against pessimism and of course the eternal conversation about the dollar. Theatre is at home among other arts in its awkward swim for survival, with books, music, art and even film finding itself battling the oceans of free digital entertainment. As with all things, the fears have evolved into facts and different kinds of action are striving to meet the challenges of this cultural revolution head on. Pete Malicki is a case in point. A key figure in the enormously successful Short and Sweet theatre festival that now sees itself situated as the largest ten minute play theatre event in the world, Malicki sees theatre as becoming a more accessible medium as part of the solutions to combating the digital age. If theatre is to compete with film and television for viewers, then it needs to be entertaining.
This is in stark contrast to another world-wide trend for theatre, which is to establish itself as more “high-brow” and the ultimate test, if you like, for an actor or director. Plays that are short, sharp, entertaining, inexpensive and include a little mental twist are Malicki’s forte, in stark contrast to the growing trend of expensive, meaning-laden, star-studded events (or cheery musicals) that dominate main stream theatre. Malicki takes theatre for the people to a whole new level, competing directly with film and television, and using what is unique about theatre (real people, real audience) to make an impact its competitors can’t challenge. In fact, reading Pete Malicki’s web page, he comes across a little as a the Tim Ferris of theatre (I hope that doesn’t offend him), one of those radical optimists who happily displays his video gaming credits alongside his many (many many) writing award credits. Like all mavericks, Malicki is a very loud, very ADD-ish mover behind the scenes. He and his work are destined to become one of those “overnight success” stories, when he’s been plugging shamelessly and joyfully away for years.
The Monologue Project was created in response to the need for HSC drama students to have access to quality ten minute plays that they could perform in practise and in exam competition format. Malicki, having all these plays he’s written seeking production, offers all his monologues free from the website, only asking for credits and permission requests to be able to use them. The monologues are comedy and drama theatre and range from a checkout-chicks cry through to an Aussie using the Dracula mythology to get laid. The funny vignettes are very funny and the serious ones quite challenging. Malicki strives for entertainment, but isn’t content with simply “theatre-candy”, so there is a little darkness to the funny and a little light to the drama every time.
Last night and tonight only, there is a chance for the lucky to sample eight of Malicki’s eighteen short plays currently on offer at The Monolgoue Project website.
Eliza St John plays a sultry sexy woman drinking herself silly on Valentines Day (VD – get it?) for the sixteenth time in a row, when a mysterious bunch of roses with an invitation from an admirer comes her way. Naturally she is suspicious, but when she finds out who it is, she is even more challenged, eventually realizing its almost impossible for her to make her dreams a reality. Eliza is back at the end of the set with the eighth play, a year on from her first experience, when she is challenged by a perfect date again.
Jessica Heath is currently an HSC student, happy to put her enormous talent on display in the short play Frenemies. Teenage bullying is a hot topic as kids rarely imagine their actions can have dire consequences, especially when their behaviors are on behalf of fitting in. Frenemy takes bullying to its super conclusion, hitting home the horrible truths about viciousness directed at those without the ability to properly defend themselves.
Screams and Whispers
Charlotte Connor takes on the very large challenge of screaming, crying, and even whispering animal noises in this one-woman-acting showcase. Screams and Whispers is funny writing, but it’s the acting that will pull the play off or leave it flailing, in a fine piece of writing by Pete Malicki. Connor does a great job with this very interesting idea, cleverly weaving her difficult performance, almost taking on the role of each animal she claimed to “hear.”
Scott Grimley is more than terrifying in this short piece that asks us who is really good and who is really bad in our mixed up world of crime in the absence of superheroes or a robin hood. Is stealing the lives of the morally corrupt the wrong thing to do, or are we simply waiting for someone with the courage (or lack of empathy) to do what we wish we had the courage to do all along?
Nat Backhouse does a fine job with the rather difficult material of making an Aussie misogynistic homophobe a loveable character, and yet he cleverly pulls it off. He plays a thirty-five year old virgin who has finally decided deceit is the best way to get laid. (personal note, I thought the idea of a thirty-five year old misogynistic virgin who can’t work out why he can’t get laid was an excellent idea)
With easily the best piece of writing of the show, Rosemary Ghazi takes splendid advantage of this very funny, very clever short piece of theatre. This surprising, witty ten minute play was the standout of the night, and Ghazi an excellent performer to bring it to fruition. Ghazi is a slight female, and without giving any of the plot away it works very well to her as the lead in what can be a unisex role. She is very funny, doing the fine writing proud.
Sarah North is a finely strung instrument in this difficult drama piece about a person with an extreme nervous condition. Another challenging piece, North does a great job in lifting the suspense out of the narrative, creating so much tension that crossing a road and catching a bus are fully realized as dangerous acts.
Lewis Scamozzi was our host for the evening as well as stage manager in the Pete Malicki not-quite-one-man-show, which shows a lot of courage and commitment in itself. He is a fine buffer of sorts between the audience, the actors and Malicki, giving us all breathing room, and proper space to see each of the plays unfold as their own entities. (extra)ordinary, (un)usual is a great night of showcase theatre, that you will be glad you attended. Particularly useful for students of drama and those wanting to use the plays or be part of The Monologue Project in the future.