Friday may have been cold outside, but in Street Two there was warmth to spare with the opening of William Zappa’s Winter’s Discontent. As You Like It café poured out glasses of French wine served with delicious duck and camembert canapés inspired by Zappa’s muse, Les Miserables’ rascally innkeeper Thenardier (though the food was much better than the kind served up by Monsieur T!).
Written and performed by William Zappa (Bell Shakespeare’s The Government Inspector, David Williamson’s Let The Sunshine), Winter’s Discontent centres on aging actor Robert Winter, halfway through a tour of an interminable, postmodern (and utterly rubbish) one-man show, , Eleven Episodes from the Torture, Trial and Execution of Monsieur Thénardier. As he sits backstage, Winter ruminates about his life, his career as an actor, and the beauty and tragedy inherent in a life in the theatre. As he burrows deeper inside his memories, Winter’s conversation with himself slowly tranforms into a conversation with his characters, most especially the vile Monsieur T. It’s an unromantic view of an actor’s life – but one that is, nevertheless, a celebration. Winter’s Discontent strips back the gloss and glamour to reveal the all-too-human flesh, and the fragile, ethereal soul of the artist.
The Friday and Saturday night audience response was unparalleled – a strong, visceral reaction to the material, filled with awe, wonder, and solid enjoyment at watching a man so practiced in his art that he makes the most astonishing things look effortless. Reviewers agree: The Canberra Times’s Glenn Burns wrote that “Zappa’s performance reminds us that acting of this calibre is an art not a pastime, an art capable of stirring our emotions profoundly, making us laugh and even challenging our perceptions.”
Richly intelligent and literary, Zappa moves the play slowly and irrevocably towards its breathtaking denouement – a finish which leaves the audience gasping in their seats. Winter’s Discontent leaves you in no doubt – William Zappa is truly one of the giants of Australian acting. Get in to the Street as soon as you can to see this spellbinding piece of theatre!
The Street presents
Written and performed by William Zappa
VENUE Street 2, The Street Theatre, Childers St Canberra
SEASON Friday June 18 – Saturday July 3 @ 7.30pm
Tuesday 22 & 29 June and Friday 25 June & 2 July @ 6pm
TICKETS $29/ $25/ $19
BOOKINGS 6247 1223 or www.thestreet.org.au