1994

Androcles and the Lion

by James E Engelhardt

November 1994

Everyone knows this ancient tale of a runaway slave who stops to aid an injured lion, is recaptured, sent to the arena to be killed by the beasts, and is saved because of his random act of kindness. What you may not know, however, is that the tale is true! In the course of his research, author James Engelhardt found a translation of the ancient Roman tale that inspired both Aesop and George Bernard Shaw. It relates the eyewitness account of a man named Apion who actually saw the encounter between the slave, Androcles, and the grateful lion. “While the play scored high on the giggle meter, it also scores a high I.Q. because Engelhardt takes the high road to Rome, employing sophisticated language, complex characters (including three strong female roles), an endearing lion who doesn’t need to speak, intriguing conflicts and a bag full of surprises that end the play with an emotional domino effect.” (Chicago Tribune)

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La Mandragola

by Machiavelli

September 1994

Produced and Directed by Bill Alderman

Arguably one of Machiavelli’s finest works, Mandragola is a comedy that offers an in-depth look into the world of Machiavelli. The play’s action takes place in the span of 24 hrs. It is the story of Callimaco, a young Florentine who lived in Paris for 20 years. One day he overheard a fellow Florentine tell the Parisians about a woman of extraordinary beauty back in Tuscany. Compelled to see her for himself, Callimaco returned to his native land. Once he saw her beauty he was determined to have her. There are several problems to his plan however. The first is that the woman, Lucrezia, is married and the second that her virtue seems above reproach. Callimaco enlisted the help of Ligurio, a rascally marriage broker who had had dealings with Lucrezia and her husband, Nicia. Using his skills at arranging things, Ligurio devises plans to allow Callimaco to have his moment of bliss with Lucrezia.

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Crossfire

by Michael Azama

July 1994

Jennifer Compton was born in Wellington, New Zealand in 1949. In the early 1970s she emigrated to Sydney, Australia with her husband Matthew O’Sullivan. They now live in Carrum in Melbourne.

After attending the NIDA Playwrights Studio, her play No Man’s Land (later Crossfire) jointly won the Newcastle Playwriting Competition (with John Romeril’s A Floating World) in 1974. It was premiered at the Nimrod Theatre in Sydney in 1975 and in 1976 was published by Currency Press.

In Crossfire, Compton raises a number of sensitive questions about women’s imprisonment by, and liberation from, men.  Her play, in which the life of a family of 1910 threads through the life of a modern family in the 1970s, compares the experience of four women and concludes, with a young women’s perspective, that today’s personal freedom can be as stressful for some as social convention used to be.

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One for the Road

by Harold Pinter

March 1994

This is a chilling study of power and powerlessness. Set in an unnamed totalitarian state, this play presents a violent, disturbing portrait of political horror in which an interrogator torments a tortured prisoner and his imprisoned wife and child.

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