A Night Down the Hole. A program of one-act plays, film and music directed by Soren Jensen and Christian Doran for The Nineteenth Hole at Tuggeranong Arts Centre, January 8-11, 2003.
Soren Jensen describes one-act plays as escaping "the cultural trap of 'the serious' while being very serious indeed. They have the immense advantage of flying below the level of cultural radar.... Such is also the case with The Nineteenth Hole." "We act to entertain each other rather than [for] the glory of a paying audience," says Christian Doran.
Their recognition of the modest theatrical place they occupy seems to me to have kept The Nineteenth Hole on track over the two years since they were just a group of friends at college. A Night Down the Hole is a neatly structured entertainment, exploring the differences between love, lust and friendship. "I can't be your friend," says a young man to his now married ex-girlfriend, "because I love you."
The task of linking 8 plays, some local and others mainly American (Apres Opera by Michael Bigelow and Valerie Smith, Pvt. Wars by James McClure, Anything for You by Cathy Celesia, Tom's Lament by Justin Greenaway, 4AM by Bob Krakower, Sure Thing by David Ives, Downtown by Jeffrey Hatcher and Success by Arthur Kopit) into scenes in a pub so that the transitions are seamless and the themes develop sensibly was demanding and certainly done well enough for a paying audience.
The Nineteenth Hole may be flying low, but radar over the horizon shows a strong cultural development since I last saw them a year ago. Not only is the material - the film sequences, musical interludes and scripts - much more tightly integrated now, but individual actors have matured. I noted particularly Jensen as Barman Jim (who plans this year to take on further training in Sydney), Imogen Fayed in Anything for You, and Jack Millyn and Clare Martin in Sure Thing. They may "act to entertain each other" but the company has surely been a worthwhile self-development group for all involved. They have found a style, absurdist and witty, which suits them well. It challenges them and in doing so made A Night Down the Hole a satisfying evening's entertainment.
© Frank McKone M.A., F.A.C.E.
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