(EXTRA)ORDINARY, (UN)USUAL: Everything You Need To Know
In collaboration with F Creations, we are thrilled to bring you the South African Debut of (extra)ordinary, (un)usual!
(extra)ordinary, (un)usual is a diverse assortment of monologues written by award-winning Australian playwright Pete Malicki. Each monologue recounts the quirks of its sole protagonist's situation, shining new light and awareness to the things that happen just under the thin veil of our everyday life.
This production is a hybrid theatre-film event that combines the best of both worlds. Director Faeron Wheeler has used the intimate nature of getting up close and personal of film, all the while keeping to her theatre roots for performance style. There’s no realism in the setting, but the actors have used their voices and bodies to bring very real characters to life.
Created in association with The Monologue Project and Pete Malicki, versions of (extra)ordinary, (un)usual performed all over the world. This is the first time it has been done as a filmed production.
The order of the monologues and their respective performer goes as follows
The Happiest Day of my Life — Amy Young
Digging Deep — Kim R2
The Flowers — Gizelle Willows
Screams and Whispers — Gavin Werner
The Story of Darling Brown — Lizanne Peters
Keep Calm and Go Kill Yourself — Matthew Newman
Take a look at the story synopses and tell us you aren't one bit curious!
(extra)ordinary, (un)usual took me by surprise. We were fortunate to watch the screening in a theatre, which was a riveting experience: Theatre edited with filmic expertise, yet plainly a theatrical piece. I loved the concept, it feels like theatre, however because it's filmed you are right up close to the actor, and it is a performance just for you. The performances are strong, and varied enough that your attention is caught and held for each of the six monologues. Pete Malicki's writing is masterful, each monologue takes you on a full journey. Beautifully conceptualised as a Film/Theatre hybrid - here's one good thing coming out of the Corona pandemic! — Erica Schofield
Six very well written and highly entertaining monologues. The performers drew me right into their stories. And I loved the special surprise scene at the end! — Erika Marais
An unexpected surprise! Gary says it reminded him of his radio days. You don’t have the visual images, but each dialogue was so well expressed. We could see it all quite vividly in our mind’s eye. — Gail and Gary Fargher
Really well done and I enjoyed the honesty of the performances — Anonymous
• BWW Review: (EXTRA)ORDINARY, (UN)USUAL Makes Its Filmed Debut From F Creations
• Six seemingly ordinary characters tell their unique life stories which can speak volumes to an audience in lockdown
by Lindsay Kruger Oct. 15, 2020
Embracing the "new normal" of hybrid theatre-film, F Creations brings their version of Peter Malicki's (EXTRA)ORDINARY, (UN)USUAL to South African screens for the month of October. Made up of a selection of monologues from the award-winning international playwright Malicki, (EXTRA)ORDINARY, (UN)USUAL delves into the presentation of lives seemingly - yet anything but - normal.
(EXTRA)ORDINARY, (UN)USUAL is filmed on a stage which gives some feeling of being in the theatre. Incorporating filmic aspects such as different camera angles, close-ups, sound effects and cutaways, this production brings an uncommon experience of theatre to the screen. With actors addressing you directly, it extends the level of intimacy to a theatre production that you would not necessarily experience live - making it quite engaging.
Peter Malicki is known as one of the world's leading monologue writers. His monologues are written in a style that feels almost conversational while being able to stay performative. Each monologue in (EXTRA)ORDINARY, (UN)USUAL has a quirkiness to it which keeps the momentum flowing and leaves one anticipating where the narrative will go. Acted by a cast of six distinctive performers, this production has enough ebb and flow to it to be intriguing, and keeps most of the energy level high throughout. It also includes a surprise piece to end off with which makes each production of (EXTRA)ORDINARY, (UN)USUAL unique.
Amy Young, Kim R2, Gizelle Willows, Gavin Werner, Lizanne Peters and Matthew Newman make up the cast. Each has so successfully and naturistically intertwined themselves into their characters over the short period of their monologue that it could be said if I were to meet any of them in person, it would be hard to separate the stories heard during (EXTRA)ORDINARY, (UN)USUAL from their real-life personas! A special mention to Kim R2 for her excellent comedic timing, and Matthew Newman for truly being the standout performer in this collection with his character's emotional trajectory.
Director Faeron Wheeler has done well not only to consider this production as a whole, but also to consider each monologue in their entirety. Instead of presenting a filmed stage show as her company has done this year, Wheeler's exploration into hybrid theatre-film proves successful as she uses and gives a noteworthy exhibition of both.
If you find you are missing theatre, film or people, (EXTRA)ORDINARY, (UN)USUAL taps into all of these aspects in a pleasingly idiosyncratic way. What surprised me most from this play was the sense of nostalgia it left. These six actors telling somewhat unbelievable yet also slightly relatable life stories (hence the title...) produces an unexpected yearning to simply get to know people. Having been under lockdown for nearly 7 months now, it didn't hit me how much I've missed learning more about "ordinary" people through conversation than when I watched this production. The surprise ending also rounded this feeling off nicely.
It can't be said if this would hit the same way under "normal" circumstances, making this theatre-film debut an ideal watch for 2020.
• REVIEW: (EXTRA)ORDINARY, (UN)USUAL – ON-LINE STREAM
Posted by Robyn Cohen | Oct 18, 2020
Relationships, grief, love, confessions and delusions are some of themes tapped into by award winning Australian Malicki writer in monologues which are part of The Monologue Project. Malicki has made a selection of monologues available for theatre makers on a platform, (extra)ordinary, (un)usual. Theatre makers select monologues and bundle them together with a “surprise” piece – usually something that has emerged from those involved in staging the monologues. Up to now, the monologues have been staged – on stage – in theatres. During the pandemic, Faeron Wheeler of F Creations – a production company in Cape Town – approached Maliki with the idea of staging (extra)ordinary, (un)usual on the digital stage. Her idea was to work with theatre actors and use aspects of theatre/stage craft in a pre-recorded film to be broadcast via a streamed link on the digital stage. Wheeler has termed her production of (extra)ordinary, (un)usual as a hybrid of stage and film. We see the actors sitting on chairs and then each one goes centre stage and relates a story- a monologue. I don’t want to plot spoil, but here is the list to give you an idea:
Amy Young –The Happiest Day of my Life
Kim R2 – Digging Deep
Gizelle Willows – The Flowers
Gavin Werner – Screams and Whispers
Lizanne Peters – The Story of Darling Brown
Matthew Newman – Keep Calm and Go Kill Yourself
My favourite is Matthew Newman’s – Keep Calm and Go Kill Yourself. This multi-talented actor delivers a powerful and nuanced portrait of a man who is at crunch-point. We learn why. It is a piece which is very relatable right now. Many of us could do with an epic rant. This man has good reason to feel shattered and he is doing his best to “keep calm”. This monologue clip is deftly interspersed with images which flash on screen for a few seconds – like subliminal messages -which demonstrate the inner turmoil that the character is going through. Loved this monologue. Newman brings out the humour beautifully. Just watch. Let’s just say, it will make you laugh about “mindful” therapy. Keep calm and think of a fruit bowl.
As a wrap, we get a collage of personal monologues, created by the artists. This segment bring to mind the dinner party scene in the film Notting Hill when Hugh Grant, Julie Roberts and the rest of the dinner party goers, compete to tell the saddest story – to nab the last brownie. In the F Creations digital staging of (extra)ordinary, (un)usual, the actors face-off with stories gleaned from being in lockdown. Fabulous stories – watch – and laugh. I wanted more.
All up, (extra)ordinary, (un)usualis an interesting and enjoyable digital stage experience. Deftly filmed (by Christelle Grobler). Editing is terrific and there is a sense that this theatre transported to the digital stage. I think it’s great that theatre makers like F Wheeler are exploring ways of staging theatre during the pandemic and providing a platform for artists who work in live performance.
Interview with Cape Robyn done before launch of production: https://thecaperobyn.co.za/interview-cape-towns-faeron-wheeler-talks-staging-extraordinary-unusual/
• Review: Coleen van Staden
19 October 2020
Faeron Wheeler, the director, describes this show as a hybrid theatre-film production where elements from both platforms serve the production for online viewing and at the same time enhance the interpretation, staging and performances of this series of monologues.
A cast of six talented actors bring six characters and their stories to the stage in a satisfying piece of theatre. The characters appear at first, to be quite ordinary, living ordinary lives in ordinary circumstances: A friend to the elderly, a serial bride, an animal whisperer, to name but a few - a taste of some of the characters you will meet.
At face value, you may know the type, you may even be the type but before you settle in, Malicki shifts gears. He gets under the skin, adds a twist, comes at you from left field and takes you on a ride that ends at an unpredictable destination. The common thread in these monologues is Malicki’s dark humour and contemporary sensibilities.
To successfully present this series of monologues to an audience/viewer – yes, I also felt a bit like a hybrid - requires actors who can hit the ground running, pace themselves, follow the shape of the monologue, be blessed with great comedic skill and be comfortable with aspects of physical performance as well. Some monologues did better than others, in my view, and the highlights for me were Kim R2 – Digging Deep, Gavin Werner – Screams and Whispers, Matthew Newman – Keep Calm and Go Kill Yourself.
After watching the production, I asked myself this question. “What was the experience like for an avid theatre-goer like me?” Entertaining and satisfying. I loved the way the monologues were filmed – it added intimacy to each piece and made the characters and their stories very accessible. I enjoyed getting up close and personal. Nice work from Christelle Grobler on camera and good editing too. However, there was an issue with the sound (at full volume way too soft – tested by me on a couple of devices, in the recording I think). This did, unfortunately detract a bit. I also found most of the sound and visual effects unnecessary – the pieces were strong enough without. That aside, I enjoyed this online theatre experience with its combination of stage and film techniques. I think too that the choice of monologues is spot on.
F Creations has taken a step in the right direction and proves again that Faeron Wheeler brings both passion and flexibility to her productions. I look forward to seeing the next online offering.