Rogue Projects will present the premiere season of Madeleine Withington’s hilarious debut play Wil and Grace at Fringe HQ Newtown from 24th Novemberto 4th December 2021.
On a dark stormy night in Petersham, housemates Grace and Varya drunkenly conduct a séance. They wake up the next day to find a naked Englishman sleeping on their couch. And he says his name is Wil. Wil Shakespeare.
In a world where the future seems increasingly uncertain, and life a little too tenuous, Grace yearns to find the magic in the little things. When the reality of grief becomes too painful, she turns to fantasy. She chooses to believe. But when reality slides too far out of her grip, danger lurks.
Directed by Erica Lovell, with production design by Anna Gardiner, lighting design by Jasmin Borsovszky, and original composition and sound design by ChrysoullaMarkoulli, the production features Withingtonin the title role alongside Suz Mawer (Coram Boy, Doctor Doctor) as Varya and Joshua Shediak (Confessions of Jeremy Perfect, The Intervention) in the role of Wil.
Debut playwright Withington worked on the story as a side project over a number of years before submitting it to the Rogues on the Rocks Residency program in late 2020, where it was selected for production. “This is the first play I’ve written, and I am so excited that Rogues have chosen to put it on. Everyone involved has come with such passion and excitement, I feel very privileged to be working with such a talented bunch of people.
It’s hard to remember exactly how it started. I think it started with thinking about belief and the number of times in my life I’ve been exasperated with my own cynicism and inability to believe fully in anything, because I do think that we all need something, however small, to believe in with passion. There’s a Terry Pratchett quote that sums it up perfectly for me: “Humans need fantasy to be human. To be the place where the falling angel meets the rising ape.” So I wrote something about someone who makes a decision to commit to fantasy, because sometimes, I really wish I could.
For Director Erica Lovell the connection to the play is very personal:
One of the remarkable things about Madeleine’s writing is how effortlessly she brings a razor sharp wit, and warmth, to a conversation about grief. We don’t acknowledge the healing power of humour enough. Directing this show has been an integral part of my own healing, having recently lost my father, I hope the humour in this show helps our audiences to heal after a very difficult two years.
Wil and Grace is one of the first independent productions to open after Sydney’s lockdown. Originally slated to open in July, the production team are delighted to still be able to present the play this year. The company had seven projects cancelled or postponed in 2021, so to premiere a work now feels particularly special for the artists.
From Sydney Fringe Festival Director and CEO Kerri Glasscock:
We are absolutely thrilled to be reopening FRINGE HQ Newtown after these past months in hibernation. FRINGE HQ is a project that is designed to provide affordable, non-curated space to our community of amazing independent artists, and we are delighted that one of the first shows up is by Rogue Projects who are long-time Sydney Fringe participants. The Rogues have in many ways grown as a company alongside Fringe, presenting one of their first productions in the 2019 Sydney Fringe Festival, taking out Best Emerging Artist; since then they have presented work at FRINGE HQ Potts Point and taken part in our many residency programs. It’s all about community at FRINGE HQ and we cannot wait to welcome our community of artists and audiences back into the wonderful theatre. Now is the time for all of us to band together and ensure that our local artists are supported and our venues full.
Venue: Fringe HQ Newtown
Date:24 Nov-04 Dec 2021
For more information click HERE