23 October 2023

Get set for a giggle as plays put love on centre stage

| Claire Sams
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theatre production

School of Arts Players Inc artistic director Robyn Freedman says the theatre group’s four short comedies will make audiences look inward as well as outward to others. Photo: SOAPI/Facebook.

The curtain will soon rise on the latest production from a South Coast community theatre group.

School of Arts Players Inc (SOAPI) co-founder and artistic director Robyn Freedman said the four short plays would bring more than entertainment to audiences.

“I’m always looking to have something that touches people’s hearts and minds because we like to amuse them as well as give them something to talk about,” she said.

“I’m excited for these because I think we’ve got a very strong set of plays.”

Ms Freedman is the creative writing mind behind That New Gardening App! and Hey Dougal!, with the latter a restaging of a popular SOAPI play.

The group has also secured the rights to dramatic comedy The Bench (written by Mark Langham) and Dotty Scotty (penned by Marianne Buchanan).

“There’s four short plays, all having a bit of a common theme – basically, life’s gone a little bit sideways,” Ms Freedman said.

“It’s all a bit tongue-in-cheek where you can have a giggle, but they all look at loneliness and love and all sorts of things.

“We always try to have something that’s not too heavy on the heart when we put on our productions.”

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The public can relax in their seats with BYO popcorn and nibbles across one (or more) of the five performances in the afternoon and evening.

Ms Freedman said staging the four plays had brought challenges.

“We’re juggling four different lots of rehearsals and four different sets, but I’ve got some great people that have come on board,” she said.

“Theatre is a bit like a team sport – you have to do your bit so the other actors have their cues and all the rest of it.”

Ms Freedman said community theatre was an activity where people could try their hand and learn something new.

“It’s all coming together nicely,” she said.

“Community theatre is great because you don’t have to have a skill set when you first get involved.

“I think that is something that’s missing in a lot of places – you can just come along and find a niche.

“As we get closer to our opening nights, I always get excited, but also a little anxious in making sure that my actors feel comfortable.”

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The production of Love & Other Apps came at a time when the community was pulling together after COVID-19 saw many events cancelled or postponed, Ms Freedman said.

“In COVID, people were much less likely to go out,” she said.

“But I am finding that this year, more people [in the community] are saying, ‘Oh, I’ve heard about that’ or ‘I’m excited’.

“This is entertaining your local community, giving them something that they can come to at a modest price but also a little bit of an escape from the humdrum of life.”

Tickets for Love & Other Apps cost between $10 and $20, and are available via TryBooking.

Performances will be held from 27 October to 4 November at the Cobargo School of Arts Hall, 20 Cobargo Bermagui Road, Cobargo.

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