A Perfect Specimen is the world premiere work by Nathaniel Moncrieff set in the dying days of the travelling circus and freak show. It tells the tragic, true tale of Julia Pastrana, the 'ape-woman', and her husband and manager, Theodore Lent. Once as popular as Hollywood or the NBA today, since Julia Pastrana's time the circus has undergone a tumultuous journey into modernity.
Black Swan is pleased to announce that leading actor, singer and producer Simon Burke AO will make his debut performance with the company and join the cast of Clinton: The Musical, from Queensland brothers Paul Hodge and Michael Hodge.
Nathaniel Moncrieff is an emerging playwright in the West Australian theatre scene. As a member of Black Swan's Emerging Writers Group in 2013, he wrote a fantastic play, A Perfect Specimen, that we are proud to present in our 2016 season as part of the Black Swan Lab in the Studio Underground. Directed by Stuart Halusz and featuring a fantastic team of actors and designers, A Perfect Specimen tells the true and tragic tale of Julia Pastrana, the ape-woman. We caught up with Nathaniel to discuss this world premiere production.
“Your problem, Henry, is that you are hung up on words, on labels… AIDS. Homosexual. Gay. Lesbian.”
Set & Costume Designer Christina Smith wrote a wonderful note for the Angels in America, Part One programme. Unfortunately we couldn't include her whole note in the programme due to space, so here is the full version:
Friday 13 May 2016
Black Swan State Theatre Company ushers in a new era and welcomes the appointment of its new Artistic Director from 2017, Clare Watson.
Last week and over the next few weeks the cast of The Caucasian Chalk Circle are having a bit of face work done, both in Perth and Sydney! The Caucasian Chalk Circle, a collaboration between the National Theatre of China and Black Swan, will feature masks designed by Professor Huaxiang Zhang and worn by cast members throughout the show. These masks are specially designed and created using moulds of the actors’ faces – a process that takes approximately 45 minutes. First, the actor’s face is prepped with Vaseline, especially around facial hair. Then the mould mixture – dental alginate – is applied to the face, covering the eyes but leaving air holes at the nose. Then plaster bandage is layered over to support the alginate. Once completely dry, the mask can be easily removed from the face and voila, you have an exact negative cast of their face. Once all the moulds are completed, a positive cast is taken using plaster. Once all 14 casts are complete, these will be sent to Beijing where they will be used in the creation of the physical masks once the designs are completed.