Monday, October 11th, 2010
WIT, innuendo, farce, slapstick and twists of absurdism – not the usual things people associate with Elvis Presley.

But that’s exactly what to expect with All The King’s Women, a collection of comedy scenes and monologues based on his impact on different women.

Presented by Arena Arts and Entertainment this October and November, the show features 10 actors playing 21 characters focusing on their Elvis encounters.

Director Simon James said All The King’s Women is not so much about Elvis but more about the comic situations of the women who meet him.

“We follow people's encounters with the King – from when he gets his first guitar at age 11, through various parts of his career to his death in 1977 and then onto today and what he's left behind,” he said.

"It's more about the comedic female characters than Elvis, although the pieces revolve around him and we discover some rather fascinating things about the man along the way.

“You don't have to be an Elvis fan to enjoy this show, thanks to the humour involved, but if you are a fan, then it’s an amusing walk down memory lane as well.

“The production is also timely because Elvis would have been 75 this year if he was still alive.”

James said he was drawn to All The King’s Women because of its interesting structure, as well as the subject matter.

“It was the challenge of directing 10 pieces that are different to each other, drawn together by the central character of Elvis,” he said.

“Although he doesn't appear in the play as a physical character on stage, his character is very much imprinted upon each scene.

“The show has everything from a gossipy sales assistant with psychic abilities, manic housewife, hard-nosed New York TV producer, airhead artists and coldly-efficient Whitehouse secretaries through to the heartfelt pleadings of love from a female Elvis impersonator.”

Currently the artistic director of Arena, James has an extensive 30-year theatre background and has written and directed more than 50 plays, working with the Old Mill Theatre, Hayman Theatre Company, Theatre-go-round, Pocket Theatre Players, Perth Light Opera Company, Gilbert & Sullivan Society, Constable Care Theatre-In-Education, The Canning Players and Curtain Up Drama Group.

Among his acting credits are She Stoops To Conquer, The Bewitched, The Recycling Rabbit, A Christmas Carol, It’s A Mad World, My Masters and 18 years of The Storykeeper for schools and libraries while he has also directed Antigone, You're A Good Man Charlie Brown, Doctor Who: Hellblossom and numerous Terry Pratchett plays.

One of the All The King's Women's segments, focusing on when Nixon met Elvis, scored James the best director award at the 2010 Dramafest, the annual state drama festival.

The cast also received an award for precision in their ensemble work.

James says his main challenge with All The King’s Women is developing the different characters with his actors while also re-creating different time periods.

“We go from a hardware store in 1946 through to a 1956 TV studio and ’60s art studio and supermarket through to a ’70s car yard and the Whitehouse and the present day in the Graceland souvenir shop.

“This means creating little snapshots of these periods, drawing together costumes, make-up, atmospheric lighting and soundtrack, all with minimal furniture and staging requirements, allowing us to quickly switch from one time period and location to the next.

“It’s not like directing a full-length play; it’s more like directing 10 short one-act plays at once.”

All The King’s Women plays at Phoenix Theatre at 8pm, October 14, 15 and 16 and Camelot Theatre at 8pm, October 29, 30, November 5, 6, 10, 11, 12 and 13 with 2pm matinees on October 31 and November 7.

Tickets are $20, $15 concession – book on 9362 4080 or email [email protected]

Phoenix Theatre is located on the corner of Carrington Street and Rockingham Road within the Hamilton Hill Memorial Hall; Camelot Theatre is on Lochee Street, Mosman Park.

ATKW-02: Kelly van Geest as Allie, Heather McGeorge as Cindy and Danni Close as Bonnie in a scene where Andy Warhol explains art to Elvis.

ATKW-04: Rossemary Longhurst as Abby, Lorna Dunne as Barbara and Les Lee as Chester Longhorn in a scene from All The King’s Women.

ATKW-05: Lorna Dunne, Les Lee and Rosemary Longhurst are in All The King’s Women this October.

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Contact Profile

Arena Arts and Entertainment

Arena Arts & Entertainment Inc is an independent arts co-operative based in Perth, Western Australia.

We were founded in 1988. Several theatre graduates looked at the state of the arts in Perth at the time and were faced with the options of heading off to make a career in the eastern states, or sitting on our backsides and just whining about everything, or getting off our bums and creating something for ourselves. Being the rather enthused but somewhat stupid folk we were then, we chose the latter option. After a lot of organisation, we started working on some arts projects that interested us, drawing in others as were needed. We became an incorporated association in 1989.

Most of our work has been in the area of Theatre For Schools, as this is where the interests of our creative people have largely been. Here, we provide theatre productions and skills workshops tailored to the needs and interests of W.A. schools. These projects are part of our professional "wing of operations" with each project working as its own independent co-operative. We have a 100% track record of presenting original West Australian works for West Australian audiences. A lot of these projects have been ground-breaking productions, creating a very different way of presenting educational entertainments at schools. This unique ARENA style is one that has sometimes been copied by others. Rather flattering, really.

Our other work includes such things as entertainment at the Opening Ceremony of the 6th World Swimming Championships, projects for advertising companies, involvement in OzConcerts, award-winning entries in the W.A. State Drama Festival, a comedy radio series for ArtRage, performances at shopping centres as well as Youth Festivals and Environment Festivals, shows for the Perth Zoo, Public Speaking Workshops, Writing Workshops, Mime Workshops, Drama Workshops, tours to Esperance, support for regional and interstate storytelling, workshops in detention centres and for Youth at Risk, and shows for Seniors and People with Disabilities. And of course, our recent Community Theatre productions Wyrd Sisters, Lords & Ladies, Doctor Who:Hellblossom, Carpe Jugulum, Monstrous Regiment, The Merry Wives Of Windsor, Temporo, Santa's Space Christmas and Going Postal.

ARENA's overall aims are:

•to provide affordable theatre and arts projects for new and existing audiences
•to provide creative and financial opportunities for those working in the arts industry
•to promote local "grass roots" theatre

Since 1988, we have produced over 150 Arts projects, which have had over 4200 performances, for an audience in excess of 990 000 people.

As well as producing the works of people currently involved in ARENA, we always welcome others who have Theatre For Schools ideas, or indeed, for any type of production, to come forward with their plans. We may be able to offer personnel, financial and resource support to help those projects become a reality.

Although many things have changed in ARENA over the years, it continues to not only survive, but thrive. We have recently scaled back our Theatre For Schools operations in favour of more Community Theatre projects. We never intended to be solely a Theatre For Schools co-operative, although we will continue to provide the very best that these projects demand. Now, however, we are looking to expand into other areas of the arts and entertainment.
Simon James
P: 0402 418 232


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