Mark Seymour Acting: 29 August 2002

A run down on Mark Seymour’s first public acting role, in “Spumante Romantica”.

Author: Miriam Gravino.

Date: 11 Sep. 2002.


Article Text

Official Pamphlet

Clare Watson directs Spumante Romantica by Beatrix Christian.

“I wish to retire for a brief eternity, to a world of limitless potential where eyes never tire and joints can’t ache”

Jerome Makin is a clock shop owner whose time is coming to an end. Suffering from a disease which has left him in pain, incapacitated and blind, his final hours are spent escaping to dreams of Venice in search of the Paradise Cafe.

Clare Watson: Director

Clare has worked as a performer, writer, musician, teacher and director of theatre. She graduated from Melbourne University with a BA in English and a Dip Ed. Since 1999 Clare taught English and Drama/Theatre Studies to VCE level. She directed and produced school productions of Blackrock by Nick Enright (Melbourne Fringe 2000) and Rewberry High by Lally Katz.

Clare’s directing credits also include Life. Get it up ya (Edinburgh Fringe, Barry Award Nominee Melbourne International Comedy Festival, 2000). The Lesson by lonesco (Mudfest 2001). Horsegirl and Her Young Gentlemen Friend by Lally Katz (La Mama, Fringe 2001). Sucker by Lawrence Leung, which won ‘Best Solo Work’ for Melbourne Fringe 2001 and is currently playing in the Edinburgh Festival.

Mark Seymour: Jerome

Mark Seymour is 46 and is best known for his singing voice in the now defunct rock band, Hunters and Collectors. His career as a singer/songwriter spans a period of over twenty years and in recent years he has produced two solo albums.

His interest in acting was ignited by a series of invitations to audition for various screen roles. Though unsuccessful, he quickly came to the conclusion that acting was a fresh challenge, finding the theatrical experience deeply stimulating. Mark is about to complete the Foundation Year at the VCA.

Gary Abrahams: Marlon

Originally from Johannesburg, and a student of VCA until 2000, Gary has appeared in various short films and fringe theatre pieces, including Bison at the Black Box for Midsumma Festival, Fathers at La Mama, Nostos Algio and Exilesat the Grand St Theatre, 4xBeckett and The Architect and the Emperor of Assyria for Melbourne Fringe, which won two awards at Melbourne Fringe and will be part of Belvoir St’s B sharp session in Sydney later this year.

Agatha Gothe-Snape: Kitt

Agatha is primarily a physical performer, having trained in various physical forms. Since moving to Melbourne earlier this year, she has undertaken some studies in the VCA Drama school. She is currently completing her honours thesis for the Department of Performance Studies, Sydney University. In Sydney, she most recently performed in Huillermo Gomez Pena’s ‘Museum of Fetishized Identities‘ and participated in the developmental stages of Nikki Heywood’s ‘Seeing in the Dark‘.

Tim Alves: Design and construction of the Gondola.


Miriam’s Review

The Joy, Rage and Other Misdemeanors season of theatre from 14th to 31st August 2002 was the first of what the Victorian College of the Arts hopes will become an annual event. Its purpose was to showcase Australian works directed by young directors training at the VCA.

Not having been to live theatre for about 4 years I balked at the idea of reviewing “Spumante Romantica” but it has made me determined in future to enjoy more of an art form I have always found stimulating and unique.

“Spumante Romantica” is a one-act play: a three hander with minimal setting. The story unfolds with Jerome (Mark Seymour) blind and close to the end of his suffering. The relationships between Jerome and Marlon, his employee and Kitt, his niece, unfold in a series of flashbacks. The various backtracking scenes that regress Jerome’s illness reveal characterizations of the various players until the final concluding scene in which Jerome’s loved ones assist him to a painless end.

The characters are believable and as fully drawn as a short one-act play would allow. With strong performances from all three actors in particular when delivering individual monologues. The setting was minimal, with an old-time claw footed bathtub becoming a bed (or the hull of a gondola) as the need arose. Yeung’s lighting, economical rather than obtrusive and Hannam’s occasional music complemented Watson’s sparse scene changes tidily.

For me, the play showed snippets of the lives of three people desperately trying to escape their personal realities. Jerome attempts to escape his physical deterioration; Marlon seeks release from the memory of an abusive paternity, Kitt from her loneliness. The revelation that Marlon is not just Jerome’s employee but also his lover heightens her alienation. The play’s apotheosis the Socratic final scene in which the younger two demonstrate their final act of love for Jerome by helping him as best they can to escape suffering and find his “Paradise Cafe”.

Mark played a blind Jerome very convincingly, notwithstanding his robust health (an obstacle in presenting a men whose body is in an advanced state of deterioration). I was impressed by the delivery of his lines and convincing characterization.

I thoroughly recommend Mark to continue as an actor as he shows great promise. It would be yet another challenge to which he has risen successfully. But as a fan I must implore him not to give up music completely!

~ Thankyou to Miriam for providing these articles!