Elaine Crombie (Black Comedy), Nicholas Denton (Wild) Kamil Ellis (Nowhere Boys), Tahlee Fereday (Fallen), Tony Nikolakopoulos (Wentworth) and Calen Tassone (Red Dog), star in the world premiere of Astroman, Albert Belz’s irresistibly funny and heart-warming love letter to the `80s.
Against a backdrop of BMX bikes, Michael Jackson, Gary Ablett, Donkey Kong and Friday night Kentucky Fried Chicken, Astroman explores the highs and lows of growing up in Geelong, the exhilaration of learning and what it means to be truly courageous.
MTC Associate Director Sarah Goodes (A Doll’s House, Part 2) directs this delightfully charming play, opening on Friday 2 November at Arts Centre Melbourne, Fairfax Studio, with Tony Briggs (writer of The Sapphires) as Associate Director.
Sarah Goodes said, ‘Astroman has become known as one of the best unproduced plays since its huge response when it was read at the 2015 National Play Festival. Set in 1984 Geelong, Albert Belz has captured the beginning of our love affair with gaming technology and the young adult culture that fueled the ’80s with films like The Karate Kid. It is unapologetically nostalgic for our shared cultural history, but also tells of an unlikely friendship between an older Greek man and a young indigenous boy, who together give each other the courage to face the outside world. I am delighted to be working together with Tony Briggs as Associate Director to bring this essential coming-of-age story to life.’
Step back in time to the ’80s. Gary Ablett has just signed with Geelong. Cyndi Lauper blares through the stereo. Thirteen-year-old Jiembra Djalu and his brother Sonny are the new kids in town, and while Jiembra may be a video game whizz and maths genius, he’s always getting into strife. A friendship with the owner of the local arcade and a chance at gaming glory could see him change his life forever, but could also mean leaving behind what means most – his brother and adoring mother.
Albert Belz is a director, screenwriter, award-winning playwright and lecturer from New Zealand, and has written for television, theatre, print and radio for over a decade. His unique voice has crossed datelines and divides since very early in his career, having has his work performed in London, New York, Lille, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and even Otaki. He has also been Writer in Residence at both Victoria (Wellington) and Waikato Universities in New Zealand. His other plays include Yours Truly (Chapman Tripp Award for Best New New Zealand Play) and Raising the Titanics (Auckland’s Metro Magazine Award for Best New Zealand Theatre). Albert also won the prestigious Bruce Mason Playwriting Award in 2006. Having returned to New Zealand from Melbourne in 2015, he currently resides in Auckland where he lectures in Writing for Screen and Stage at the Faculty of Creative Arts, Manukau Institute of Technology.
MTC Associate Director Sarah Goodes last directed A Doll’s House, Part 2 and The Children, which won three Helpmann Awards including Best Play and Best Direction. Also for MTC, she directed Three Little Words following her critically acclaimed direction of John and Switzerland. Sarah’s reputation as a leading director of new Australian and international work is built on widespread praise and multiple award nominations. Formerly Resident Director at Sydney Theatre Company, Sarah directed The Hanging, Disgraced, Orlando, Battle of Waterloo, Switzerland,The Effect, Vere (Faith), The Splinter, and Edward Gant’s Amazing Feats of Loneliness. Sarah recently directed The Sugar House at Belvoir. Her other directing credits include Elling, Black Milk, The Sweetest Thing, and The Small Things (Belvoir); The Colour of Panic (Sydney Opera House); Vertigo and the Virginia, The Schelling Point, Hilt, and What Happened Was (Old Fitz Theatre); and The Unscrupulous Murderer Hasse Karlson Reveals the Gruesome Truth about the Woman Who Froze to Death on a Railway Bridge (Darlinghurst Theatre Company).
Cast Elaine Crombie, Nicholas Denton, Kamil Ellis, Tahlee Fereday, Tony Nikolakopoulos, Calen Tassone
Director Sarah Goodes
Associate Director Tony Briggs
Set and Costume Designer Jonathon Oxlade
Lighting Designer Niklas Pajanti
Composer & Sound Designer Jethro Woodward
27 October – 8 December
Friday 2 November
Arts Centre Melbourne, Fairfax Studio
03 8688 0800