California Suite

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 06 May, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 06 May, 2012, 12:00am
 

California Suite
Sweet and Sour Productions

For her latest project with Sweet and Sour Productions, director Candice Moore decided to try her hand at comedy.

She chose Neil Simon's California Suite which, although a Broadway hit in 1976/77, is better known for the 1978 film, with an all star cast which included British actress Maggie Smith who won an Oscar for her performance as an actress who fails to win an Oscar.

'I've never seen it as a play but I saw it as a movie and thought it was very funny,' says Moore. 'It's about relationships with different people in situations I think it is easy to relate to, and it is a comedy, so it is different from the things I've directed before, which tend to be more serious dramas.'

Any experienced actor or director will tell you that comedy is harder than 'serious drama' - and this, in any case, has its serious side - but California Suite comprises four short playlets, all of which have to be made to work individually and cumulatively. Making life harder for the cast was the decision to have four of the actors double up roles.

'Each of the four playlets has a distinct style and the actors have a wide range of acting styles that suit each piece. So from a directing perspective it is like directing four separate short plays, which is a nice challenge,' says Moore.

'They're very good actors - they're professional actors, so they are able to come up with different characterisations.'

New York actress Natalie Shull, Australian actor Jared Robinsen, Texan actor Daniel Garcia, French actress Emilie Guillot, and New Zealand actress Suzy Sampson are the cast members who double up. Englishman Henry Coombs completes a multicultural cast.

The staging, at least, is uncomplicated. Each playlet is set in the same suite of a Beverly Hills hotel, and the guests are: a divorcee visiting her ex-husband and her daughter; a businessman who wakes up to find his partner in the previous night's indiscretion still under his bed; the Oscar nominee actress and her gay husband; and a couple from Chicago on holiday with their best friends, and beginning to find the friendship under strain.

Despite being written more than three decades ago, the play has aged well, Moore says. 'I haven't made any cuts. There are a few references to the seventies but other than that it's not very dated.'

HK Rep Black Box, 8/F Sheung Wan Civic Centre, Wed, Fri-Sat, 8pm, May 13, 3pm, HK$250, concessions HK$220 Urbtix. Inquiries 2734 9009

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