“Saturday Night Fever” a youthful dream

©Robert Stigwood Organisation

DTC is presenting a youthful presentation of “Saturday Night Fever” based on the Paramount / RSO Film and the story by Nik Cohn; Adapted for the stage by Robert Stigwood and assisted by Bill Oakes; Edited by Ryan McBryde. Presented by arrangement with David Spicer Productions (www.davidspicer.com.au)

Dreams become nightmares when the exhilaration turns to dread. That is what happens when a young man finds out his life becomes a living nightmare. Yet all around him is the glitz and clutter of the disco. Another youth, Tony Manero, is the centre of this evasive world. He is king. Yet his reign disguises the need for escape from a terrifying future.

The women in “Saturday Night Fever” fare no better. Having their consciousness formed through the fragility of male insecurity and the awareness of their own vulnerability, they are part of the clutter just as Tony’s male friends provide constant noise. Stephanie, like Tony, has been struggling to climb out of the suffocating environment which bred her. Her choices become stronger and give her some space to see and further her ambitions.

“Saturday Night Fever” is probably best known for the Bee Gees sound track; it being the biggest selling film sound track of all time. Yet beneath the memorable tunes and perfectly crafted lyrics, there is a gritty and very dark reality experienced in the lives of all characters. They are virtually all trapped in the crab pot and only some recognise their own desperation to climb out. It is not a romantic or escapist work in any sense of the word. There is no Hollywood ending. No happy ever afters …

Yet there is a sense of possibility; a fragile possibility linked by a bridge that might be a way out and a way upward. It could also be destruction.

The Bridge

the poetics of a Japanese garden

DTC’s production actually uses a bridge between the disco reality and the hard and enduring world that one can try to evade or enter.

There is a recognition that one has to face the tough questions about oneself in order to progress across the moat that separates illusion from what is real.

It is these tough questions that give the work its necessary quality.

Beautiful Ambiguity in Conclusion

If one is searching for answers in a work of art then one will always be disappointed. Art cannot provide certainty. It is always going to be a liminal quality like a doorway. It isn’t propaganda or a self-help fix. Older views of art seem to fixate on its affirming qualities: affirming god, religion, various world-views and the cultural precepts of the past.

Theatre at least has progressed from there into an art form where one’s subjectivity is engaged and there is room to wonder and evaluate for oneself. This is demonstrated so beautifully in the final scene of “Saturday Night Fever” where two people form a kind of momentary bond that takes them out of their own entrapment and into an experience of possibility beyond their every-day … while still being inconclusive …

The bridge and the shadows into the gritty reality of DTC’s production of “Saturday Night Fever”

While the bridge in the DTC production provides the link to something else, possibly better and possibly real, it also is provides a kind of gravitation that is destructive and potentially deadly.

The Dance

Lauren Morfoot (Stephanie) and Isaac Bisa (Tony)

… and the fever is the dance! The production could not be done without truly excellent dancers and so DTC has cast a group of the very best dancers for the lead roles of Tony, Stephanie, Annette and the two Latin dancers along with an ensemble of terrific dancer / actors. Their work will inspire members of the audience to get off their seats and dance. The show has different textures and is one of those rare pieces of theatre that combine the almost sacred in humanity with the exuberance and lusty rough rhythm of letting off steam and simply pounding away the beat.

BOOKING: www.trybooking.com/BGAOT
Performances: 25, 28, 29, 30 April and 1, 2 May at 7.30pm and at 1.30 on 2 May
at McCowage Hall, Daramalan College, Canberra

Director / Designer: Joe Woodward
Director / Choreographer: Lucy Cronan
Musical Director: Michael Jackson
Production Manager/: Angela Dunn
Costume and Make-Up Designer: Lauren Reid
Singing Director: Annette Mitchell
Set Construction / Design Consultant / Engineer: David Kurthi
Stage Manager: Tilly Watson
Stage Manager: Charlotte Blackley
Video and Image Creation and Editing: Bernard Kane
Sound Engineer and Operation: Shannon Jackson (professional)

Published by shadowhousepits

For more than twenty years, I have worked as a writer, theatre director, actor, dramaturg, producer and teacher. ​My work with Shadow House PITS best demonstrates a particular blending of Artaud’s ideal of a “theatre of cruelty”, Brecht’s “epic theatre” and the absurdist theatre of “Ionesco”. This website offers scripts and writings that illustrate this blending. Each script has had at least one season of public performances; most have had multiple seasons. Prior to Shadow House PITS I spent twenty years as a journeyman working at La Boite Theatre (1970s), being an Artistic Director of a theatre-in-education company (Jigsaw) and running a theatre school, Stagecoach (9 years). At one point I also was co-producer of a commercial theatre and bar (PITS) with David Bates. I regard all this prior time as doing a kind of dues in order to focus myself on what is necessary to write and produce work that has value. One needs to do one’s dues in order to have the temerity to declare one’s offerings for public perusal and judgement. Over recent years, I have produced and directed plays from the Western theatre canon, including: HAMLET, TAMING OF THE SHREW, TWELFTH NIGHT, KING LEAR and A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM by William Shakespeare and THE RESISTIBLE RISE OF ARTURO UI and MOTHER COURAGE by Bertolt Brecht and THE CRUCIBLE by Arthur Miller. These were all performed by student actors. My own work is more directly influenced by Antonin Artaud, Brecht, Ionesco and Butoh. Have a look at the sample texts and some of the video links. Consider purchasing one for yourself. I hope you enjoy your time here with Shadow House PITS.

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