Friday, July 17th, 2009
PERTH playwright and actor Chris Thomas is bringing one of his own scripts to life on July 30 with the WA premiere of Reality Matters.

Part of the annual Putting on an Act short-performance festival at the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts from July 28 to August 1, Thomas has taken on the challenge of writing and performing in one of his own works.

Originally devised in 1994, Putting on an Act was developed as an opportunity for WA performers and writers to showcase short, sharp and challenging works, each restricted to 15 minutes.

With an array of dance, performance art and theatre across five unique nights, Self-destruct, All My Selves on Youtube, Scott Chocolate presents Strange Entertainment, Seen Unseen and Grumpy Man will also be joining Thomas’ Reality Matters on July 30.

“Reality Matters has never been performed in WA before and I adapted the script to fit this particular format,” Thomas said.

He previously achieved a small literary coup when it was the only Australian entry chosen for the NSW-based Blacktown Theatre’s annual 4 Short Plays Plus season in 2007, up against works from the US, Canada and Japan.

“My aim was to come up with a script that could be performed anywhere without a set, simply requiring two actors on stage,” Thomas said.

“Reality Matters is a slightly surreal piece featuring one character – the MC – constantly interrupted as he tries to introduce a show, forced to question his own perception of reality by another enigmatic character,” he said.

“This stranger tries to strip away his many masks, forcing him to think outside the square for a moment, and I decided to leave the piece open-ended as to whether the events occur for real or in the main character’s mind.”

Thomas is no stranger to creative writing – last year, his play SMS Mess debuted during PICA’s Putting on an Act, his children’s play The Bonza Land of Oz was featured in Kalgoorlie’s Australia Day celebrations and his script Who’s Your Daddy? was part of Artrage’s 24-Hour Project. He also had a Doctor Who story published in an official collection.

“To have something actually grow into a staged performance and take on a life of its own is always a bonus and this is an opportunity for WA audiences to finally see the show,” Thomas said.

With a 16-year background in local theatre, Thomas has appeared on stage in more than 25 productions including The Sum of Us, The Return, Dracula, Frankenstein, Red Dwarf, Popcorn, Picasso At The Lapin Agile and, most recently, A Streetcar Named Desire – and was named best male supporting actor at the 2008 South West Drama Festival for his role in The Return.

Joining Thomas on stage in Reality Matters is actor Phil Barnett as the mysterious stranger, after winning best male (other than a lead) for The Sum of Us at the 2008 Finley Awards and the 2008 DramaFest best male actor award for his part in The Return.

“I’ve worked with Phil on numerous projects and it almost seemed a fait d’accompli when I mentioned Reality Matters to him,” Thomas said.

“As soon as I told him it had been accepted into this year’s Putting on an Act, his immediate response was ‘When do we start?’”

Reality Matters is one of several pieces being performed from 8pm, Thursday, July 30, as part of Putting on an Act. Tickets are $18 ($15 concession) – bookings can be made on 9228 6300 or at

Genres cover live art, contemporary dance, experimental music, text-based performance, physical theatre, audio/visual and hybrid works. A different program of performances is highlighted each night with a “best of” showcase on the final night.

PICA is located in the Perth Cultural Centre, opposite the Alexander Library car park, up from James Street.

reality1-2.jpeg: Chris Thomas and Phil Barnett in Reality Matters, part of Putting on an Act at PICA. (Picture: Nardia Bordas)

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KADS Theatre

KADS Theatre is the premier community theatre group in Kalamunda, Western Australia.

Its first production was in 1972 and the theatre has been entertaining Hills residents every year since. The Town Square Theatre is located in the centre of Kalamunda, between the Coles shopping centre and the post office.
Chris Thomas
P: 0430 374 250

PICA (Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts) - Putting on an Act

Across five unique nights, PICA presents Putting on an Act, a collection of short acts by Western Australian performing artists.

This rapid-fire season has proven immensely popular since its inception in 1994, offering a unique opportunity for performers to create bite sized original works. This season is jam-packed with dance, performance art, theatre and circus.

Grab a seat for this unpredictable, funny, and exciting experience as we unbridle performance in Perth!

Season: Tues 28 – Fri 31 July, 8pm
Best of finale: Sat 1 August, 8pm
Duration: Approx 1 hour 40 mins
(including 20 min interval)
Venue: PICA Performance Space
Ticket: $18 Full
$15 Art Addicts & Concession
Bookings: PICA on (08) 9228 6300 or
Georgia Malone
P: (08) 9228 6300


Perth debut of new play


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