Let’s do launch: curtain up on book of plays

PERTH writer and actor Chris Thomas is launching his latest book, SMS Mess and other plays, at the Old Mill Theatre on September 16.

It’s a compilation of several plays he has written over the years, ranging from comedy to the surreal through to a children’s piece.

With a 19-year background in Perththeatre, Thomas has appeared in more than 30 productions including Red Dwarf, Dracula, Frankenstein, Popcorn, The Sum of Us, A Streetcar Named Desire, The Beast and The Beauty, Foreskin’s Lament and The 39 Steps.

In 2010, he set up his own production company Groovy Boots Theatre and co-directed and performed in a sell-out season of the wedding farce Dimboola.

Thomas’ previous written works include the novel Journo’s Diary and the Doctor Who short story One Step Forward, Two Steps Back, featured in the collection Short Trips: Defining Patterns.

“During my own personal experience in theatre over the years, as a performer and writer, I have seen a good selection of plays written by WA authors,” he said.

“But all too often they are only given one outing and then forgotten, simply because people are unaware these scripts exist.

“Yet year after year, people are on the hunt for one-act plays, kids’ shows and monologues and can’t find anything suitable.

“Several of my plays have been performed in one form or another and rather than let them gather dust as so many other scripts do, I decided to put them together in a collection.”

The book features eight plays, including:

  • SMS Mess, a humorous one-woman show that explores the pitfalls of text messaging.
  • Reality Matters, a surreal piece where one character is forced to question his own perception of reality when confronted by an enigmatic character.
  • Which One?, a comedy where three university students all make a move on the same girl.
  • The Bonza Land of Oz, designed to give children acting experience while highlighting other cultures are embraced inAustralia.
  • Who’s Your Daddy?, a tale of a failed 80s popstar on the comeback trail, followed by an obsessed fan and cynical music journalist.
  • Pickles, a play where one woman plays a housewife, husband, small child, teenager and elderly lady.
  • Appetite for Destruction, an exploration of a character’s inner turmoil over his weight.
  • King Bling, designed for a teenage audience to highlight the message of managing money, done in a hip-hop context.

“I always had a vision someone could go to a library and pick out the book if they wanted a play to perform, just like I did when I was first looking for a play to direct many years ago,” Thomas said.

 “This way, there will be a permanent record of my plays, available to a greater number of people to perform, if they so choose.

“Some of them are MA-rated, others can be performed anywhere and there’s even one especially written for kids.”

Thomas launches SMS Mess and other plays from 2pm, September 16, at the Old Mill Theatre and will be on hand to sign copies. Entry is free and all guests receive a free glass of champagne on arrival.

The book is also available through Thomas’ website www.journosdiary.biz.

The Old Mill Theatre is on the corner ofMends StreetandMill Point Road, SouthPerth, opposite the Windsor Hotel and Australia Post.