ARENAarts (note to subs: this is correct) is paying tribute to the late Terry Pratchett by staging an adaptation of Maskerade, one of his popular Discworld novels.
Dying of Alzheimer’s earlier this year, Pratchett was the UK’s best-selling author of the 1990s, selling more than 85 million books worldwide in 37 languages.
Terry Pratchett’s Maskerade is described as a “comedy theatre production of operatic proportions” with a story that has similarities to The Phantom of the Opera.
All is not well in the Ankh-Morpork Opera House as a ghost stalks the dark corridors, leaving strange letters for the management, and lures young innocent sopranos to gaze into a large mirror to see their destiny.
But Granny Weatherwax, Discworld’s most famous witch, is in the audience and won’t put up with it so joins fellow witch Nanny Ogg, who has published a cookbook of suggestive recipes, to investigate.
Together they become involved in a variety of skulduggery, mayhem, ear-splittingly loud singing, gut-wrenching bad opera acting and murders that inspire humming.
Directed by Simon James at Belmont’s Latvian Centre Theatre, he says Terry Pratchett’s Maskerade is full of the author’s usual oddball characters.
“While it’s a theatrical adventure for followers of the Discworld novels, Maskerade will also appeal to lovers of comedy and people intrigued by opera,” he said.
“There are only humans in this tale – no werewolves, vampires, trolls or dwarfs that fill the usual bill of Pratchett stories, although there are witches.
“We were already in pre-production for the show when the news came in March that Terry Pratchett had died.”
Currently artistic director of ARENAarts, where he has a more than 25-year association, James has written and directed more than 50 plays and has worked with the Old Mill, Stirling, Hayman and Pocket Theatres, Canning Players, Theatre-go-round, Curtain Up Drama Group and Constable Care over the past 30 years while also appearing in numerous theatre-in-education productions.
He has been named best director at Dramafest twice, the annual state drama festival, for The Bear and When Elvis Met Nixon and was recognised for best set design at the 2012 Finley Awards for The Miracle Worker and the 2013 Hills Festival of Theatre for The Bald Prima Donna.
As a storyteller, James also has 21 years’ experience performing The Storykeeper during Children’s Book Week, as well as Clay Tales – storytelling and pottery workshops for people with disabilities.
ARENAarts has previously staged numerous adaptations of Terry Pratchett’s books, including Wyrd Sisters, Lords and Ladies, Carpe Jugulum, Monstrous Regiment and Going Postal.
“I love anything Terry Pratchett has written,” James said. “I like to describe Terry Pratchett novels and stage adaptations as The Lord of the Rings meets Monty Python.
“There’s a depth of sci-fi and fantasy writing infused with a really wicked sense of humour.
“With his recent untimely death this production has become very important and very personal for folk at ARENAarts.
“I contacted people who were involved in our past Pratchett productions from 2001 onwards and, even though they hadn’t done anything with ARENAarts over the past 10 years, they leapt on board to do this one.
“Pratchett plays may seem to be about the wide view but they’re also about the small details.”
Terry Pratchett’s Maskerade plays at 8pm July 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, 16, 17 and 18 with 2pm matinees July 5 and 12. Tickets are $20, $16 concession – book on 9399 9947, [email protected] or at www.trybooking.com/HRRP.
The Latvian Centre Theatre is at 60 Cleaver Terrace, Belmont.
M001: Emily Theseira, left, as Christine and Jo Lamont as Agnes in Terry Pratchett’s Maskerade.
M006: Maria Passalacqua, left, is the Manager and Jim Chantry is Enrico Basilica in Terry Pratchett’s Maskerade this July.
M015: Terry Pratchett’s Maskerade features an opera chorus in fancy dress: Callum Vinsen, left, Ely Meath, Johan Smit, Christine Ellis, Ned Wolf, Maria Passalacqua, Don Weaver and Penny Phillips.
M013: Nanny Ogg (Julie Holmshow, left) and Death (Johan Smit) in Terry Pratchett’s Maskerade.
ARENAarts is an independent, West Australian, not-for-profit arts organisation producing and supporting such projects as professional co-op shows and community theatre, as well as theatre-for-schools productions.
Our work includes such things as Wyrd Sisters, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Santa's Space Christmas, Doctor Who: Hellblossom, Northanger Abbey and The Storykeeper.
We aim to provide creative opportunities in the arts to encourage the growth of local, grassroots arts projects and to create works to reach new and existing audiences.
Since 1988, we have produced more than 155 arts projects, which have had more than 4300 performances for an audience in excess of 1 million.
ARENAarts community theatre productions are completely run by volunteers, from the actors to the director, as well as everyone involved behind the scenes. The productions are held at a variety of venues all across the Perth metropolitan area. They are tremendous fun and a great way to learn skills and make friends. Great for those just starting out in the industry as well as seasoned performers.
ARENAarts co-op productions are the perfect opportunity for anyone wishing to put on a professional production but are in need of funding, set and props and/or mentorship.
ARENAarts theatre-for-schools program offers touring educational productions that cater for junior to upper primary children. Productions include the very successful The Storykeeper which is celebrating its 22nd anniversary this year.
M: 0402 592 964