The upcoming Sydney Fringe Festival is bringing a huge amount of local talent to Sydney theatres, and a stand-out on the agenda is John Galea’s steampunk take on The Tempest.
The play has come to fruition through the combined assistance of a grant from the Marrickville Council, a successful cabaret fundraising event, and a clever campaign on Australian crowd-funding platform Pozible; making this a perfect example of the changing face of Australian theatre. No longer waiting for opportunities to knock on their door, emerging artists are now using platforms like Pozible to gain donations from the public, thus making their projects become a reality. This new style of fund-raising is bringing a whole range of diverse plays and performances into local theatres, as well as increasing opportunities for performers. It’s also giving audiences access to a wider range of performances, and allowing the public donate to the projects that they wish to see on stage.
[pull_left]Steampunk is a genre and sub-culture inspired by 19th century literary figures such as Jules Verne and H.G Wells[/pull_left]
Steampunk is a genre and sub-culture inspired by 19th century literary figures such as Jules Verne and H.G Wells; it combines the madness of science fiction with the elegance of the Victorian era. As director, designer and producer of The Tempest, John has created a unique and lavish interpretation of Shakespeare’s tale.
A COFA design graduate, his approach to theatre-making is highly visual, with a great deal of thought put into the costumes and sets of the production. The majority of funds raised through his Pozible campaign have been used to create the detailed costumes that are necessary for the audience’s immersion into the steampunk experience.
John told AussieTheatre: “The Tempest lends itself easily to the steampunk genre. It’s the only Shakespeare play that has a wizard, so it’s really crossing into that fantasy genre”.
John has created a world where the magic of Shakespeare and the science fiction of Jules Verne meet to make a critique on technology in our own society. The play works with the idea that in our society, technology is the magic. Along with its intricate 19th century costumes, the play features high-voltage electrical effects and the use of video and multi-media to further enhance the eerie world of The Tempest. As John told AussieTheatre “We’re really going for the “wow” factor. We’re using all sorts of gizmos, lighting and on-stage special effects.”
The Tempest is also a testament to the ability to create theatre for audiences through the support of the local community. It’s a grass-roots project, with all necessary funds raised from scratch. Having no parent theatre company, this is a production that materialised though the hard-work of the cast and crew; and of course through the donations and word-of-mouth support from the public. Featuring a cast of both professional and emerging actors, the play is a truly an example of quality theatre being created from small beginnings.
Without a doubt, this is a chance for Sydney audiences to see Shakespeare in a new and enjoyably kitsch visual and thematic style. Audiences are certainly in for a unique experience, as they’ll be witnessing a science fiction journey into a tale of revenge and redemption. If you’re a lover of steampunk, a lover of Shakespeare or simply curious about how these two literary genres will be mixed, then The Tempest is a must-see for you on the Sydney Fringe program.
Presented as part of Sydney Fringe
Venue: Sidetrack Theatre, Addison Rd Centre, Marrickville
Directed by: John Galea
Season: 29 Aug – 8 Sep