Incredible Success Rate for Lysicrates Prize!
In the first three years of this very young prize for Australian playwriting, nine embryonic plays were shortlisted.
Of these, three have already been completed and found their way to Sydney stages, with another one scheduled for production early in 2019.
That’s a success rate of almost 50% in such a short time. Amazing!!
The first Lysicrates play to get a full production was The Literati by Justin Fleming. Shortlisted — as The Savvy Women — for the inaugural Lysicrates Prize in 2015, it was staged by the Griffin Theatre Company at the Stables Theatre in Darlinghurst in 2016.
Fleming’s play is a contemporary Australian adaptation of Les Femmes Savantes, a comedy by Moliere and, like the original, it’s written in rhyming couplets. It’s a satire on academic pretension, female education and preciousness transferred from 17th century Paris to 21st century Sydney, with hilarious results!
Audiences loved it, and here’s what the critics had to say:
‘a mixture of outrageous comedy and tender humanity, side by side, sometimes clashing, but brought together sweetly in the spring-like comic ending.’ – John McCallum in The Australian
The Literati is exceptional entertainment made doubly pleasurable at this intimate scale. Don’t miss it. – Jason Blake, The Sydney Morning Herald
This year two more plays have been staged.
Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam, Steve Rodgers’ adaptation of the novella by Peter Goldsworthy, was the winner of the Lysicrates Prize in 2015. It played last month at The Riverside Theatres in a production by the National Theatre of Parramatta.
It’s a haunting, moving story exploring the nature of an ideal family and their quest to define their lives through each other. A rumination on a kind of suffocating love—and loss.
And the critics?
‘Rodgers finds the moral and intellectual concerns within the puddle of raw emotion in his theatrical distillation of Goldsworthy’s story. Director Darren Yap continues the extraction of the essentials with clean and clear staging, serviced by a distinguished cast.’ – Richard Cotter, Australian Stage
‘… a touching, true-to-life production that demands an emotional commitment that is not usually expected from live theatre.’ – Carol Wimmer, Stage Whispers
The Feather in the Web, by Nick Coyle, was one of the three shortlisted plays in the 2017 Lysicrates Prize.
From engagement parties to team-building weekends to improv comedy, The Feather in the Web is an unpredictable take on infatuation and self-discovery. Skewering our obsession with couples and careers, it asks just how much we’re willing to give (and lose) for love.
The Feather in the Web was included in the Griffin Theatre Company’s main season for 2018.
Here’s what the critics had to say:
‘Playwright Nick Coyle leads you into a mad tunnel of laughs, that has jokes, slapstick, silliness and satire jostling you relentlessly from all angles, until you feel pinched and punched into a state of comedic exhaustion. Then he hits you where it hurts with a mouthful of poignancy that leaves a lump in the throat.’ – John Shand, The Sydney Morning Herald
‘… a thoroughly engrossing production, full of mystery and always bursting with energy …’ – Suzy Goes See
‘Coyle makes fixation fascinating, weaving a wickedly funny web of unbridled surrender and spinning it with the darker side of unmitigated manipulation.’ – Richard Cotter, Australian Stage
And that’s not all!
The winner of the 2016 Lysicrates Prize was Mary Rachel Brown’s Approximate Balance.
The play is now completed, renamed Dead Cat Bounce, and is first up in Griffin’s 2019 season at the Stables Theatre in Darlinghurst, opening in February.
In Dead Cat Bounce Mary Rachel Brown wields her razor-sharp wit to ask painfully familiar questions around romance and addiction: how do we find the strength to be loved? Why do we cling to people intent on pushing us away? And how do we shake off the past?
Don’t miss it!
Four plays of the nine shortlisted in the first three years of the Lysicrates Prize have already made it to the stage! An incredible success rate indeed!