The Secret Love Life of Ophelia (Review): Fractal Theatre

Iambic pentameter (aka blank verse) is known for being the rhythm that most closely approximates everyday speech in English. Most of us meet it for the first time in the plays of Shakespeare. With its repetitive de-DUM de-DUM de-DUM de-DUM de-DUM spring on each line of the verse, despite – or perhaps because it’s closely associated with Shakespeare – IP often gets a bad working over in the hands of inexperienced actors. In a misguided attempt to make it sound more ‘real,’ all the insistence and momentum in the rhythm can get flattened out and choked. Perhaps even more unfortunately, it can be spoken in a kind of reverential ‘poetic’ voice which casts the content and the speaker into some kind of other world divorced from reality. IP is full of traps for the young player.

And now, here’s playwright Steven Berkoff appropriating the old master’s metric verse form for  The Secret Love Life of Ophelia, currently playing at !Metro Arts Studio in Brisbane.  I started by mentioning IP because one of the real delights of this Fractal Theatre production, directed by Brenna-Lee Cooney, is that the two actors in the production, Eugene Gilfedder (Hamlet) and Mary Eggleston (Ophelia) handle the verse so well; it’s earthy, muscular, lyrical, downright dirty (but in a soft-porn kind of way) often delicate, and always affecting. Neither actor is the slightest bit disarmed by the text, in fact they chew it up and spit it out – as utterly befits this 21st century, retro-Elizabethan, poetic psycho-drama. Phew!  Hoorah for them and hoorah for Berkoff; it’s great to hear such tough verse done proud. Continue reading The Secret Love Life of Ophelia (Review): Fractal Theatre

Gripped by the actor’s power: Eugene Gilfedder (Interview 10)

Waiting for Godot (QTC) with Bryan Probets
Grimm Tales (QTC)

Eugene Gilfedder is lining up for his third Hamlet – the first was as the prince himself in Shakespeare’s version some 20 years or so ago, and this time it’s in the Australian premiere of Steven Berkoff‘s The Secret Love Life of Ophelia for Fractal Theatre, opening on Friday. Earlier this year he appeared to acclaim as the Ghost and Uncle Claudius in La Boite’s production of the play.

After a long regional, national tour last year with The Kursk, Eugene’s now really enjoying what has been a year so far back-to-back with terrific roles. As one of the most respected as well as busiest actor in town, it’s almost as though his career has had a resurgence, though, as he tells me, he has notched up over 150 productions on stage over the years. ‘It’s been extraordinary to last this long,’ he tells me, ‘and to still be performing.’ It all began as a child, when as part of a large family, he found himself organising his siblings and devising performances at home and later at school.  ‘From Grade 8 on I just took charge! Acting has been my life.’ Continue reading Gripped by the actor’s power: Eugene Gilfedder (Interview 10)

The Secret Love Life of Ophelia: Fractal Theatre at !Metro Arts Studio

Further details from Fractal Theatre’s Facebook Page

AUSTRALIAN PREMIERE of Steven Berkoff’s THE SECRET LOVE LIFE OF OPHELIA

With Mary Eggleston as Ophelia – and Eugene Gilfedder as Hamlet.
Directed by Brenna Lee-Cooney

WARNING: EXPLICIT EROTIC POETRY – 16+

PERFORMANCE TIMES: MONDAY – SATURDAY 7.30PM; SUNDAY – 5PM

OPENING NIGHT 6TH AUGUST
9 performances only:  7TH – 15TH AUGUST.