Stories of Love and Hate is a new production by Urban Theatre Projects that’s set to cause a stir in the community as the play investigates what people from the Bankstown and Cronulla areas have in common via a tumultuous point in time -” the Cronulla riots.

It is not a play about the riots as such, rather it’s about the different loves, fears, desires, and memories that all human beings share. It looks at all those passions we have in common, said actor Roderic Byrnes,

There are no scenes that have been written with didactic or dictatorial notions of how you as an audience member should feel. Words are in verbatim and there’s an unconscious connection between all the stories.

The play features a culturally diverse cast, which provides an alternative perspective on the differences in race, religion, gender and age.

I’m playing six different characters in the show and I love them all. They have so much range in them -” age, ethnicity, points of view -” it’s a real privilege to try and connect with people who have genuinely moved me, made me laugh, and made me cry, he said.

Firstly, from an acting standpoint, you have women playing men and men playing women as well as Anglo actors playing Lebanese characters and a Lebanese actor playing an Anglo character -” this provides the audience with an artificial form of comedy.

Director Roslyn Oades has taken a unique approach to the touchy nature of the play’s subject matter by introducing an audioscript, which has been edited from her recorded interviews and directly fed to performers on stage.

I’m hoping to provide a genuine empathy and access to the hearts of the residents directly affected by the riots as well as a candid dialogue between some of the conflicting emotional issues at its core, she said.

This is my first time working with Roslyn’s technique, and I have found it challenging and
refreshing, Byrnes added.

Essentially, an audio track is running in the actors’ ears with the script going for the entire show. The actors channel their characters and react instantaneously, rather than learning a written script.

You listen to your actual character speak and get to know them inside out. It is a fascinating way to work, and is teaching me a lot about what I could bring to other projects that don’t use this technique.

info: Stories of Love and Hate is at the Hazelhurst Regional Gallery and Arts Centre in Gymea from Tuesday 18 November before travelling to the Bankstown Arts and Crafts Centre from Tuesday 25 November.

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