Buffalo Gal opens 10 September
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Hey <<First Name>>,
Welcome to the August edition of Cues & News as we get ready for our next production, Buffalo Gal. With our Open Rehearsal last Sunday we have just under a month to go to opening night for this "delightful and poignant piece".

Now we have a big shout out thank you to WLT Secretary Shirley Sydenham who can turn her hand to most things. On this occasion, as a member of the Communications Sub Committee, she has been patiently working on the realisation of our new styled website. Check it out (CLICK HERE to go straight to the NEWS page) - it's great and we're delighted to see this NEWS section carrying stories on theatre activity virtually as it happens. We'll repeat some of these stories in Cues & News. This facility, plus our Facebook page, ensure a constant feed of up-to-date WLT happenings.  If you haven't done so already, make sure you LIKE the WLT Facebook page CLICK HERE. Wunderbar, you'll be totally in the loop now!

WLT has plenty of unsung heroes but we did want to again recognise the great team who take care of Front of House duties. We salute and especially thank the group identified in this edition who turned out for Time Stands Still and provided this important service.

Buffalo Gal - next at WLT

Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen and welcome to Buffalo Little Theater.

For your edification and delight we are pleased to present our first show for the fall of 2015 which is the classic "The Cherry Orchard" by Anton Chekhov in a brand new translation by Stark Young. The play is to be directed by award-winning director, Jaqueline Sinofsky, and has been beautifully designed by Sam Carter, who is fresh from studying with Ming Cho Lee (no less) at Yale!

And now, hot of the press, I can confirm a real coup de théâtre! We have been privileged to secure the services of Hollywood Diva, Amanda Richardson. Amanda (as she insists she be called) will be well known to all our patrons no doubt. What may not be so well known is that Amanda is herself a “Buffalo Gal”. Born and brought up in the cream of Buffalo society, she first learnt her craft in the studio of that well-known doyenne of the Buffalo theatre, Miss Karenina Keeler. It was then sadly Buffalo’s loss and Hollywood’s gain that Amanda chose to pursue a highly successful movie career in New York and on the West Coast. However, we put that to one side as we welcome her back most warmly to her home town where she will play the lead role of Madame Lyubov Ranevskaya.

Co-starring with Amanda, we are again fortunate to have the services of Buffalo’s favorite actor, James Johnson in the role of Leonid Gayev, Madame Ranevskaya’s brother. Who can forget James’ electrifying performance in Two Trains Running?

Oh sorry folks – wrong show! We should be talking about Buffalo Gal not The Cherry Orchard. However, it is really hard to distinguish what is Chekhov from what is Gurney; and what is Buffalo from what is Williamstown. I can relate, however, that a happy and talented band of actors has been enjoying playing with these parallel possibilities for the past few weeks as they rehearse Buffalo Gal, itself a play about producing another play – but so much more than that. Come along next month to Buffalo Gal and make up your own mind.

The cast includes Venetia Macken, Karolina Surawski, Wem Etuknwa, Ken McLeish, Chris Perkins and Gavin Williams under the direction of George Werther. In particular, we extend a warm welcome to Wem (pictured) who has stepped in at short notice since our last publication of Cues & News. Photos of the recent open rehearsal which was warmly received are below.

Brian Christopher
Assistant Director/Production Coordinator

Thanks to Alex Begg for these images from last Sunday's Open Rehearsal and to both he and Bernadette Wheatley for their legendary great catering afterwards.

Time Stands Still 

VDL Theatrecraft Review

Time Stands Still
Written by Donald Margulies
Williamstown Little Theatre
Directed by Ellis Ebell
Reviewed by David Collins, July 14 2015


When Time Stands Still opens, we segue from the sounds of conflict, gunfire and screaming, to sounds of city traffic, car horns and more screaming. It’s the only intrusion of the outside world on the play, which takes place entirely in a loft. It’s a nice bit of set design by David Dare, making the most of the smallish Williamstown stage.

James (Tim Constantine) helps Sarah (Pauline Constantine) inside. Face severely bruised and her leg in a brace, she’s on a long road recovering from being caught in the crossfire during her last photographic assignment. James tries to play Florence Nightingale as best he can, but he has his own problems. He had left the same conflict earlier, abandoning Sarah. Now home, they not only have to resolve the damage they each endured separately, they also have to come to terms with the damage inflicted on their relationship. In the meantime, their agent, Richard (Rowan Howard) is pushing for a book showcasing their recent experiences, while also showcasing himself for his much younger girlfriend, Mandy (Stephanie Gonelli). 

While the set is a physical diorama of a Brooklyn apartment, the story soon turns it into a kind of psychological diorama of a difficult relationship. All of the performances do well in drawing out of Donald Margulies’ script ideas about youth, ego, passion, and how people prioritise their life – i.e. what is most important.

Both Tim and Pauline Constantine give wonderful performances, communicating clearly that these characters carry a heavier burden that just their physical bruises. It’s fascinating that their characters are drawn so strongly to the dark, to the worse examples of humanity, yet have such difficulty in enjoying the light as others who have no such point of comparison. Regardless, whether talking about the taste of someone else’s blood in their mouth, or struggling to describe what a bomb going off in a crowd does to a human body, Constantine and Constantine do great work.

It’s a credit to Rowan Howard that despite carrying a false belly and hair colour by way of car crash with a talcum powder delivery truck, he was nothing but terrific playing Richard. There’s a heated discussion at one point and while it involves Sarah, James and Richard in pretty much equal measure, Richard is in the middle, like a conductor of a beautifully paced, realistic scene of consternation and increasing irritation. Gripping stuff. Howard plays Richard throughout with a good mix of patience, empathy, and pragmatism.

Completing the quartet was Stephanie Gonelli as Richard’s new girlfriend, Mandy. Mandy appears somewhat dim at first, but it’s more that this world of investigative and photographic journalism is completely unknown to her. Her questions and challenges to Sarah and James are what many civilians would ask, making her the best point of contact for the audience to feel something in common with. Gonelli worked well to have Mandy seem naïve without being stupid, and curious without becoming a vehicle merely to get some of the bigger themes across.

Directed by Ellis Ebell, perhaps what makes this production work so well is its misdirection. The philosophical arguments are a smokescreen. Evoking Susan Sontag’s On Photography or John Berger’s Ways of Seeing is theatrical slight-of-hand in what is a play ultimately about a marriage inexorably crumbling to pieces. The deeper themes around morality and art aren’t just thrown in without a care. Their presence is deliberate and necessary. But those themes are also a Trojan horse for a compelling story of two people unable to find their way back to each other after a shared trauma. The apartment may be small, but the emotional distance is tremendous. Well done.

As always our grateful thanks to VDL Theatrecraft for kind permission to republish this review.

TSS Thanks


Congratulations and thanks to everyone who helped to make Time Stands Still such a wonderful show. 
As John Lennon said, "Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans."  My life became unexpectedly busy when I was asked to direct Oliver! and I didn’t have the time I would have liked to dedicate to Time Stands Still.  Lucky for me I had assembled the A-team when it comes to production.  Everyone I asked to do a job said ‘yes’ immediately, then went ahead and did it brilliantly. 
And it’s hard to go wrong with a director of the caliber of Ellis Ebell and his talented, committed cast.  This was a very harmonious production and it showed on stage in the rapport between Tim, Pauline, Rowan and Stephanie.
Time Stands Still was an excellent production and we should all be very proud of it.  Thanks again everyone and well done!

Barb Hughes
Production Coordinator

This happy little company thought their apartment set was so good it was the ideal location for their last night party. A fun time was had by all with the traditional presentations and speeches and not forgetting SM Emma Hunt's fabulous shoes!  Editor pictures.


Front of House Heroes - Time Stands Still

Over the River and Through the Woods
Cast Announcement

9 August, 2015
Peter Newling

In conjunction with director Helen Ellis, WLT is thrilled and chuffed to announce the cast for its final season for 2015 - the charming Over The River and Through the Woods.
Nick: Rowan Howard
Caitlin: - Francesca Bianchi
Frank: Richard Pannell
Aida: - Sandy Green
Nunzio: Bob Harsley
Emma: Carol Shelbourn
Lovely to see a mix of WLT faves and newbies to the family.
The show doesn't go on till 19th November, after Buffalo Gal, so we have a while before we can see these people in action - but it'll give us all more to look forward to!
Welcome all, congratulations, and we hope your time with us is memorable and enjoyable.

This announcement appears on the NEWS page of the WLT website CLICK HERE.

Ho Ho Ho! Christmas (in July) was merry!

Ho Ho Ho! Christmas (in July) was merry!

On Saturday 25th July, a stalwart group of revellers braved the cold and travelled to WLT for Christmas in July frivolity. Everyone joined in to a hilarious DIY playreading of 'The Farndale Avenue Housing Estate Townswomen's Guild Dramatic Society Production of A Christmas Carol'. Random sheets of the script were handed out and so there was a constant change of people reading. To avoid confusion (!!!) there was a relevant hat for every character; all labelled. The subsequent mayhem added to the general hilarity. There were interesting nuances of character interpretation!! 


Interval, with much good food and convivialty, stretched on till midnight and somehow Act 2 was never achieved! It was a fun night enjoyed by all. Thanks to everyone who came along and helped make the fun! And thanks Bernadette Wheatley, Peta Ripper and Shirley Sydenham for organising it along with Tony Tartaro as milliner to the stars!

This article appears on the NEWS page of the WLT website CLICK HERE.  A selection of Alex Begg's images from the night appear below.

For Pete's Sake

Hello and welcome to the middle of August. Please please please tell me that Spring is just around the corner!!

Rehearsals are well underway for your fourth production of the year – Buffalo Gal. At the helm is a favourite of WLT, George Werther. He has graced our stage on many occasions, and has turned in some absolutely thrilling and memorable performances. But this is his first time in the director’s chair at WLT. And I’m sure George won’t mind me telling you, it’s his first directing gig in a number of years. It’s great that we get the chance to give newer directors a chance to strut their stuff. But it’s no easy gig!

Some people ask, â€œWhat does the director actually do?”  Well, here are some theories….

To some people, the director is like a painter. The empty stage is the blank canvas. The painter chooses the style and theme for the piece through his/her selection of play. They then use all the elements available on their palette to create the finished piece. Not a bad analogy.

To some people, the director is like the conductor of an orchestra. He/she chooses the piece, decides on the style and orchestration, then blends all of the different elements into a cohesive whole. Think of the play as the sheet music; the cast as the strings, the lighting as the brass, the sound as the woodwind, the costume and set design as the percussion or something. You get the idea: there’s diverse elements and the conductor brings them together into perfect harmony.

To some people, the director is just a glorified audience member. How many times have you sat in a theatre watching a play and felt the strong desire to stand up and yell “Stop!!  You – actor – don’t do it like that. Do it more like this…..”. Well, as a director, you get the chance to do that for the three months before opening night. The job of the director is, therefore, to represent the interests of the audience members during the rehearsal period. 

To some actors and designers, the director is just the nice person who offers some suggestions about their character/design for consideration before going back to how they were going to do it in the first place…… 

It’s a tough gig because your name will always be associated with the quality of the total production. But it’s also immensely rewarding. George – welcome back to the director’s club! We’re all looking forward to the fruits of your labours. 

See you in the foyer.


Diary Dates

Set Construction Buffalo Gal
Ongoing Saturday afternoons from 1pm until completed.
Contact Brian Christopher for details if interested 0458 134 469

Buffalo Gal
By A.R. Gurney
Director: George Werther

Season: 10-26 September
Extra Matinee: Sunday 20 September 1pm

Over the River and Through the Woods
By Joe DiPietro
Director: Helen Ellis

Season: 19 November - 6 December

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Members & Friends


We're sorry to hear that Roger Wilson who had been cast in Buffalo Gal had to head back home to the Bahamas due to a family illness, and we wish him and his family well.
Stepping into his shoes as James, we welcome Wem Etuknwa. Wem has settled in so fast that there's hardly been a change of pace in the rehearsals, which continue to rocket along.


WLT Tech Wizard and Committee member Roger Forsey is off overseas again and this time to the Northern Hemisphere for an extended tour. This has been a big travelling year for Roger and Wendy after their Japan visit earlier in the year. We'll be trying to get some travellers' tales from Roger when he eventually gets back. Here are Roger and Wendy on a previous European jaunt. Travel well both of you and we look forward to your return and hearing all about it.

Another WLT identity is travelling as well - and this is someone we normally see on stage; the highly talented Melanie Rowe. When not in the USA Melanie often demonstrates a hankering for that major northern destination. Through Social Media we've been able to vicariously follow her in the past as she always extracts the max from her holidays. This trip will be no exception and we notice that after a short stay in Los Angeles where she accomplished an amazing array of activity, she's already in hot and humid New Orleans. The picture is from Venice Beach in LA. Wishing Melanie a fabulous and safe visit stateside and looking forward to more reports as she moves around the US.

Also jetting off in a week's time is Committee Member Tony Tartaro and Costumier extraordinaire. Tony is headed to Europe and his trip will take him to Austria and Germany where he's touring. Included will be a potentially fascinating tour of the wardrobe of Komische Opera, Berlin. Before heading home there'll also be a reunion with old friends for a week at Lake Como in Italy. He tells Cues & News he "may not come home!" - we wouldn't blame him if he didn't. Look forward to hearing all about his trip.

And so to another of WLT's very talented ladies, Janine Evans, always a delight on stage but also a graphic artist of equally high talent. Janine does all our WLT posters and they are always brilliant. So, no surprises that an enquiry has come to us from Washington DC from someone very interested in Janine's work with The Kitchen Sink production poster from last year. There's a copyright discussion to be had and well done Janine for this recognition.

Our friends over at Heidelberg Theatre Company have just played a season of Martin McDonagh's play The Cripple of Inishmaan. WLT of course staged McDonagh's The Beauty Queen of Leenane two years ago. The HTC production included a number of people seen regularly at WLT as well. We heard this was a great production and we greet our WLT mates Paula McDonald, Chris McLean, Madeleine McKinlay and Sandy Green onstage with Bruce Akers as Director and George Tranter, Set Design. Well done all of you.
We spread the WLT talent around and this time to STAG (Strathmore Theatrical Arts Group) where Bob Harsley is directing The Wisdom of Eve, with Peta Ripper as Assistant Director and Costume Designer. Bob's production opens 20 August for 6 performances. Full details CLICK HERE. Peta is having a busy time of it at this back end of the year where she will also be Production Coordinator for our own Buffalo Gal production. Wishing her well with all this activity.
We've had a note from former WLT President Laurie Gellon. He has noticed some recent reference to the 'elderly' in Cues & News and confesses that the bloom of youth has passed for him! He says that he is "getting on" (aren't we all!) and that his big Seven Oh is fast approaching. He's asked us to run an invitation for an event to mark this occasion here in case any people are "in the vicinity". See below. Some folks may recall Laurie's 50th birthday celebrated at a dinner following a theatre working bee. The card everyone signed has been block-mounted and is on the wall at his Mt Barker home. A big Happy Birthday in advance for Laurie and let's hope some of the WLT diaspora can get along to this gig and have some fun with him recalling some rich WLT history.

West Independent Theatre hoping to give children free drama classes

Footscray based West Independent Theatre have been shortlisted for a Leader Community Newspapers Local Grant. If successful the $1000 grant will allow them to give some children around Footscray a free drama class. CLICK HERE and vote for WIT and this great initiative.

Consider yourself invited to


Friday 23rd October at 7.45pm
Geoffrey McComas Theatre,
Scotch College, Hawthorn.

Barb Hughes is currently directing Oliver! for OSMaD. With a cast of over 50 including 20 children, Barb is having great fun (and going even more bonkers than usual) bringing this classic musical to life. Oliver! reunites the same production team that brought WLT A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum in 2013, with choreography by Jenny Vincent-Green and with Janet Provan as Assistant Musical Director.  The cast includes Angelo DeCata (Compleat Female Stage Beauty) as Fagin, Colin Morley (Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks) as Mr. Sowerberry and Colleen Johnson (Forum) as Widow Corney. Janet also plays Mrs. Sowerberry.
Tickets are $45 for Adults and $40 Concession but if we get 10 or more we can take $5 off the price.  If you would like to be part of this fun evening, please let Barb know by emailing or phone 9397-3054 by Sunday 23rd August.  If you can’t make it on the 23rd but would still like to see the show, go to or phone (02) 6253 1454.

Independent feature film to be distributed in Australia and New Zealand needs actors!


The film is set in the 1950s and is based on the true story of the Mormon Yankees Basketball team who trained Australia's first ever Olympic team.

This is a great opportunity to transition from stage to screen. Shooting takes place right through to 3 September and extras are needed for nearly all days of the shoot. Roles are on a voluntary basis and they're looking for all shapes and sizes, men and women and anyone with strong basketball skills.

If interested contact Ash Cottrell on 0439 665 446 or email CLICK HERE.

Editor: Frank Page  M. 0417 010 817  E.

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