drama nsw

Today I ran a workshop at the Seymour Centre for Secondary Drama Teachers.  The workshop, The Dramatic I: Teaching the IP, was organised by Drama NSW - the official, professional body representing teachers of Drama in NSW.  With a group of committed teachers, I worked through the process of selecting, analysing and rehearsing monologues for the HSC Drama Individual Project: Performance assessment.  The workshop went so well, Drama NSW have requested I run a HSC Drama Group Project workshop in the new year.
Image and links by Drama NSW

where it all began

On Saturday 28th of July I returned to the Bundaberg Players.  I first joined the Players' Youth Theatre in 1982 and received the Junior Oscar for my first ever performance - Louis Leonowens, Anna's son in the musical, The King and I.
It was great to revisit my old "home" and especially to pass on some of what I've learnt since by running an acting workshop whilst there.  Shirley Halpin participated in the workshop.  Shirley was one of my first theatre tutors almost thirty years ago.  She said, "I'm here because you can never stop learning about acting and the theatre and I just love sharing so much."  I know I learnt that from her.  I caught up with my friend Nigel Dick.  Like Shirley, Nigel was a Youth Theatre tutor back then.  He is now the president of the Players.  I acted many times with Rebecca Hutchins who popped in for a visit and now has her own drama and dance school in Bundaberg.  Like me, Rebecca very much enjoys passing on her knowledge and skills to aspiring actors and those who love theatre.  The Playhouse is a remarkable theatre and well worth a visit when in Bundy.

bundy boy

The following article appeared in the Bundbaberg News-Mail on Saturday 14th Aug 2010.

Paul Caesar.jpg

A life up on the big and small screens.

After graduating from NIDA, Caesar has had many roles on TV and the big screen.  On TV, his roles have included appearances in 30 Seconds, My Place, All Saints, Home and Away, Water Rats, GP, A Country Practice, Big Sky, The Feds, Soldier Soldier, Murder Call, Young Lions and in the ABC's acclaimed series Heartland.  He has acted in feature films - The Square, Cross Life, Gino, and The Well - and toured inRomeo and Juliet and in King Lear.  Caesar said his father was a former policeman, and he got to play a police officer in The Square.  He has also coached aspiring actors for 14 years.  Caesar has taught at NIDA since 2006 and is the core tutor at NIDA's Drama Studio.

Bundy boy a real class act.

For Paul Caesar, life has rather been about contrasts — perhaps none more so than his transition from Bundaberg railway station porter to acting classmate of superstar Cate Blanchett.  Now Caesar is a successful actor with numerous film and TV roles to his name, as well as being a highly respected coach helping others in the thespian world.  And on Saturday, August 28, he will bring his skills and experience back home for an acting workshop at the Playhouse Theatre.

Caesar said although he was born in Brisbane, he grew up in Bundaberg, where his parents still lived.  He attended school at the Christian Brothers and then at Shalom College for the first year of its existence.  One of the reasons he is coming back to Bundaberg is for the 25th reunion of his school class.  “It’s been 20 years since I left Bundaberg,” he said.  Caesar said his early acting experience was with the Bundaberg Players.  “In about 1981, I was in a Players production of The King and I, and that was the first thing I did with them,” he said.  “After that I was hooked, and there were times I spent seven nights a week at the Playhouse doing acting, directing, choreography and behind-the-scenes work.”  After leaving school, he worked as a railway porter, then auditioned for the demanding National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) and won a coveted place. He graduated from NIDA with a diploma, which he later converted to a degree in dramatic art.

Caesar has also experienced the tough times of a professional actor’s life.  “I’ve been out of work more than I’ve been in work,” he said.  “But now I’m doing lots of coaching, helping people prepare for auditions, and I do a lot of teaching at NIDA.”  Caesar said while he loved acting, he was finding himself doing more and more directing.

Bundaberg acting identity Nigel Dick said he was the Bundaberg Players youth director when Caesar started out with the group.  “You could see he had a certain gift,” he said.  Mr Caesar’s exploits can be tracked at www.creativestate.com.au

st patricks strathfield

Today I ran an all day workshop for St Patricks year 10 & 11 drama students.  Noel Nassar, Head of Drama brought me in for the IP & GP workshop which took the students through:

Individual Performance

  • sourcing and selecting an appropriate script
  • script analysis and exploration
  • character exploration
  • eliminating nerves in performance

Group Performance

  • Finding a great idea
  • Exploring possibilities
  • Brain storming techniques
  • Acting verses demonstrating

It was a great day and the feedback from the students was that it had been a fun filled, practical workshop that had definitely increased their chances of succeeding in their IP & GP projects.  It's rare I get to work with an all boys group and it was a pleasure to see such a strong united group who were so open and supportive of each other.

ip dramaturg

I've just returned from Adelaide where I spent the last week with my good friend and dramaturg on my book Individual Performance, Nicholas Garsden.  Nick and I studied acting at NIDA and have remained great friends since.  We spent the week working through the IP scripts and I have to say, bringing Nick on board was a stroke of genius.  Nick's insight to the characters and how best to increase the drama in each of their stories was exceptional.  Those who buy the book will benefit greatly from his input.  Thanks Nick.

tick, tick, tick

Last night, the first episode 30 Seconds aired on the ABC.  30 Seconds was produced for Foxtel's Comedy Channel and the ABC picked it up and are playing all six episodes over the next six weeks.  30 Second's executive producer is Andrew Denton and I met him on the set when filming my guest role in the first episode.
Image by 30 Seconds.  Links by 30 Seconds and IMDb

ip @ drama nsw

IP is coming!  That is, my book Individual Performance, 20 Original Scripts for HSC Drama.  Today was not so much the launch but the first public announcement that the book is coming.  I attended Drama NSW's Annual Conference with a stall promoting the book and my drama workshop services for schools.  The book will be available in October, at the beginning of fourth term, just in time for the new HSC students in search for great stories to perform in their IP assessments.

12 scripts are being written as female characters and 8 as males but some are easily adapted to the opposite gender.  The response to the book was overwhelming - everyone who saw it put their name down to be informed of its release.  It seems teachers are desperate for good scripts to pass on to their students.

To be notified of its release in October, email me with your details at paul@creativestate.com.au

vca

Congratulations to Olivia Monticciolo who is continuing her acting journey as a student at Melbourne's prestigious Victorian College of the Arts, VCA.  I coached Olivia in preparation for her auditions and I'm thrilled to say she got into her school of choice.  Olivia has taken the leap, as many of us have, and relocated to pursue her dreams.  I wish you every success Olivia and hope it's everything you want it to be. x

"Paul Caesar's ability to understand an actor and their 'own' method when working with a piece is amazing. He works with the tools the actor instinctively uses, rather than implanting his own methods as a base. In doing this he is quick to discover key blockages the actor may have. He certainly did with me when we were preparing my drama school auditions. Once discovering these blocks he did not shy away from the problem, but attacked them carefully and tactfully so I was able to feel comfortable, and work through any difficulties. He really goes out of his way to support his students and nurture their growth as an actor. Not only was working with Paul a resourceful experience for the audition process, but also his knowledge of current productions and theatre history takes the worth of his coaching to the ultimate level. I am very thankful that I met Paul Caesar and look forward to working with him in the future." Olivia Monticciolo VCA 2010
Links by VCA.  Images - recent VCA productions.

beth success

My short play Beth premiered at NIDA on the 13th December with two performances that day, it was a great success.  My anti-bullying script hit home with audiences - we got multiple reports of people actually crying in the audience.  I knew we would have an impact on the audience, reducing them to tears?, great!  One lady came up to me after the show and said, "I'm in education.  That was extraordinary, you have to get that out there!"  And so I will.  In 2010 I'm writing a book targeting HSC students and also hope to publish and sell the two scripts I've written especially for school student: Beth is one and Redemption the other.  Both have been produced and performed at the National Institute of Dramatic Art.  If you're interested in more information about the scripts, don't hesitate to contact me.  Happy 2010 to all.

beth

Over the last couple of months I've written a short play, Beth, for my NIDA Drama Studio students (I head up the Drama Studio, a one year course of Sundays for 15-17 year olds).  With a class of 1 male and 7 females I decided to set the play in an all girls school, with our only male playing the teachers and parents of the female students.  The play deals with bullying and the ramifications that result.  I was horrified by the true stories I found when researching the piece so decided I wouldn't hold back - it has ended up quite dark.  I'm directing the production which will perform on Sunday 13th December in NIDA's Parade Studio.

country nsw

I've just returned after a great week in the country.  Firstly I went to Griffith for NIDA to run a 2 day acting workshop for high school students, as a part of the local Xposed Program.  There were 18 teens in the group including Bonnie Owen, a local student I saw play Juliet in an amateur production of Romeo and Juliet.  She is very talented and I'm sure we'll be seeing her at one of Australia's top drama schools some time soon.

I then drove 3 hours across our beautiful country (pictured) to Albury and met up with 4 other NIDA tutors.  We ran three days of workshops at Walla Walla with about 70 primary and secondary school students from the region.  It was a great 3 days, partly class work and partly devising theatre performances which were presented to a large audience on the last day.  It was a great experience for students and tutors alike.  I felt privileged to take my knowledge and experience to a group of students who don't have the kind of access to classes etc that local Sydney kids do.

my place

A gorgeous little book has become ABC TV's new 13-part children's drama series.  My Place, based on the award-winning book by Nadia Wheatley and Donna Rawlins, is a captivating series telling the story of one house in South Sydney as told by the children who have lived there for over 130 years.

The series is being produced by the award-winning Australian filmmaker, Penny Chapman (Blue Murder and Brides of Christ).  Joining the line up of child actors in My Place is a stellar cast that includes: Susie Porter (East of Everything and Little Fish), Dan Wyllie (Love My Way and Underbelly), Sacha Horler (Love My Way and Grass Roots), Dan Spielman (Mary Bryant and Tom White), Russell Dykstra (Clubland and Romulus, My Father), Leon Ford (All Saints and Changi) and Hayley McElhinney (Blue Heelers and Young Lions).

The series features a line-up of prominent Australian directors that includes: Jessica Hobbs (Curtin and Love My Way), Samantha Lang (L’idole and The Monkey’s Mask - I appeared in her feature The Well), Catriona McKenzie (RAN: Remote Area Nurse and The Circuit), Shirley Barrett (Love My Way and Walk the Talk) and Shawn Seet (Underbelly and Two Fists One Heart - I worked with him recently on 30:Seconds.)

I was thrilled to be asked to play a small role in the series, donning a wig for the first time ever.  Jessica Hobbs directed the episode I'm in and I was very happy to play husband to Sacha Horler, a friend who studied at NIDA when I did many years ago.
Image by Books Illustrated and links by IMDB.

30 seconds

Today I met Andrew Denton on the set of 30 Seconds.  Andrew is Co-Executive Producer of the new satire which looks closely at the crazy workings of the advertising industry.

'The six part series is the creation of real-life advertising insiders Tim Bullock of Prodigy Films, Justin Drape and Scott Nowell of Sydney agency, Three Drunk Monkeys – the team behind FOXTEL’s recently-successful value-oriented marketing campaign.
A stellar line-up of Australian talent has been assembled for the four-week shoot which is currently taking place in Sydney. The who’s who of the Australian acting industry include, Stephen Curry, Peter O’Brien, Joel Tobeck, Gyton Grantley and Kat Stewart.' Foxtel (More)

I play the marketing manager for a beer manufacturer in the very first episode of the series. This is a must see production. It's not often that it happens but I laughed out loud when reading the episode I appear in. If all six are this good, it's going to be great!
Image by Foxtel.  Links by Foxtel and IMDb.

square dvd

 

'The Square' - available on dvd.
'Some things can't be buried.'
"The Edgerton brother's thriller will have you on the edge of your seat." - OK! Magazine.
"Not since Fight Club has a thriller thrilled like The Square." - Movie Juice.
"The brothers Coen just got stiff competition Aussie-style." - City Search.
Official website.

national screenwriters' conference

I've just spent the last three days in the Barossa Valley at the National Screenwriters' Conference - fantastic. This is the first time I've thrown myself into the writers' arena and it was well worth it.  I learnt a great deal about the art and met some industry greats: Mike Bullen - Cold Feet and Life Begins creator and writer; Jan Sardi - writer on Shine and The Notebook; Andrew Knight - After the Deluge creator/writer and writer on Sea Change; Underbelly's writer/producer Greg Haddrick and writer Felicity Packard; comedian and Whatever Happened To That Guy? creator/writer Peter Moon, along with many more.

I had a mentoring session with experienced writer, John Reeves.  One of the above read my script (I've created a drama series and taken it to the point of writing the pilot) and very generously gave me constructive feedback.  Also, my script is presently being read by an executive of one of the major TV stations.  Who knows what will come of it but it wouldn't have happened if I'd not attended.  This is a must for any budding writers!

For more information contact AWG.

redemption 08

Over the last two days I spent many hours in a dark performance space at the National Institute of Dramatic Art, all leading up to the performance of a production I wrote and directed - Redemption, Through the eyes of Shakespeare.  I wrote this exploration as a student performance piece in 2005, when I directed it's first production.  The text contains segments of Shakespeare's best plays and links them together with a revolving chorus who like many of Shakespeare's characters, speak in iambic-pentametre.  I submitted the text to NIDA and a new production was confirmed for late 2008.

The 2008 cast included 21 actors from NIDA's Drama Studio and was rehearsed on Sundays over a 9 week period.  It was a great success with many of the cast getting their mouths around the words of Shakespeare for their very first time.  The production was stage managed by Lisa Gormley, an actor in her second year of study at NIDA (we'll be seeing a lot of her in the future) and lit by Matt Tunchon, a graduate of NIDA's Technical Production course.  This was my NIDA directorial debut and I look forward to many more.

Fortunately I was able to fine tune the text a little as rehearsals progressed as I'm looking to publish the text making it available to schools and production companies - one of my goals for 2009.

gio 2 success

GIO Car Close Up

I'm getting recognised in the street for... wait for it... my role in the GIO TV Commercials.  I've been approached in the street with "Are you the guy in the GIO ads"?  I say yes, and they ALL tell me how great they think the ads are: "You see most ads and don't pay attention, but yours, I watch it every time I see it!" "I look at you in the ad and I can tell you're a great actor.  You are so real."  "You two are sooo married, I can't believe it."  "Mate, you nailed it.  I put the car one, up there with 'Not happy, Jan'."  One woman was so happy to have me shopping in her store that she hugged me.

I like the attention - it means I used my talents and did something well.  This is a hard industry to work in - income is sporadic, satisfaction is irregular and we're constantly criticised about our work.  I found working with the Orange Whip team a real pleasure and I'm proud of the results.

See for yourself.  I've done two ads for GIO and you will find them both here - Flood and Can't Argue (car).

amanecer

Last Saturday I spent a few hours in the women's toilet at the Uni of NSW filming a small role in short film Amanecer (Daybreak).  I was introduced to writer/director Alvaro D. Ruiz by Matias Stephens who I travelled to Bourke with earlier this year: Matias plays the lead role.  Alvaro has written a beautiful short story that will resonate with many of the immigrants who have come to Australia in search of a better life.  My role is a small one: a crooked employer who takes advantage of others.  The film's mentor is Claudia Karvan and you can have a look at a teaser and be kept up to date here.  I can't wait to see it!
Image by Marshmallow.  Links by Marshmallow and IMDB.

bundaberg players incorporated

Last week I returned to where it all began: the Bundaberg Players Incorporated.  Prior to my acting studies at NIDA I was involved with the 'Players' for eight years, acting in almost 20 productions and working behind the scenes in many more (see here).  It was during that time that I developed a passion for theatre and really learnt how to act: I am forever indebted to the 'Players'.

I was fortunate to attend a rehearsal for their upcoming pantomime, Aladdin.  I haven't been involved in a pantomime since my studies at NIDA and I must confess, I was a little jealous watching the cast have such fun rehearsing.  Some faces from my past were there including Graham Lister who really is one of the best Dames ever to grace the stage and the 'Players' president, Nigel Dick (pictured in this years performance of Oklahoma).  Nigel was one of my tutors when I was in the Youth Theatre over 20 years ago.  He's a true friend and a great director with a body of acting and directing work any professional would envy.

Image and link by BPI.

raiders of the lost ark

Last night I saw my favourite film of all time on the big screen: Raiders of the Lost Ark starring Harrison Ford.  It screened at Greater Union Bondi Junction, organised by Popcorn Taxi.  I have loved this film ever since I saw it as a kid and have now, I'm hesitant to admit, seen it 40 times.

After the film Karen Allen, who played Marion Ravenwood, one of the greatest female roles in action film history, was interviewed live on stage about her experience acting in the first of the Indiana Jones quadrilogy.  Karen reprised her role recently in the long awaited sequel Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skulls.  It was a delight to see her these 27 years after the original 'Raiders' release and you can see the interview here.

Image by Popcorn Taxi.  Links by Popcorn Taxi and IMDB.