A firey farce is the next production the Lieder Theatre will tackle.
Fire In The Basement follows a newly-wed couple, interrupted on their wedding night by a band of irreverent firefighters who invade their basement love-nest to fight a blaze.
It was written in 1974 by Czech Playwright Pavel Kohout, who was celebrated for his incisive, sardonic plays as a dissident during Czechoslovakia's Iron Curtain days with works such as the witty Poor Murderer even enjoying a Broadway run in 1976.
Director Blake Selmes said this eccentric show would be a laugh-a-minute romp as two ordinary people just trying to enjoy their honeymoon are caught up in a Kafkaesque struggle against absurd indomitable authoritarian figures.
Czech playwright Pavel Kohout's ironic and comedic story will be brought to life by revered Lieder actors Steve Routley, Muffy Hedges, Courtney McKenzie, Harrison Treble, Ben Pik, and Scott Treble.
The limited two-week run at the Lieder will be launched with a special Charity Opening Night on June 19, raising funds for Multiple Sclerosis Research, in partnership with Trish MS Research Foundation.
The Trish Multiple Sclerosis Research Foundation was inspired by Trish Langsford who, having lost her battle with multiple sclerosis, passed away at the age of 30.
The Foundation was established with the specific goal of finding a cure or preventive strategy for multiple sclerosis.
Mr Selmes said all are invited to the event, to be treated with live music by local musician Greg Angus, drinks and nibbles donated by the Lewis Family (Goulburn Hospital Cafe) and pre-show entertainment by circus artist Jack Bell.
"This is an hilarious show and it supports a wonderful foundation with an important cause," Mr Selmes said.
Meanwhile, Founder and Chair of The Trish MS Research Foundation Carol Langford thanked the Lieder for their support.
"We are eternally grateful that Blake and The Lieder would choose to support the work of our foundation in such a unique and brilliant way," she said.
New role for Selmes
Fire in the Basement will be Blake Selmes' directorial debut.
Performing Shakespeare while in primary school and busking as a pre-teen undoubtedly shaped the theatrical career of Blake Selmes.
For someone in his mid-20s Blake has done a few things. Apart from performing in annual Shakespeare festivals at a "very" independent primary school in Sydney and working as a professional magician, he has taught himself multiple musical instruments, film-making, Tok Pisin, animation, acting, graphic design and virtually everything else to do with theatre work.
Before coming to Goulburn five years ago, Blake lived for 18 months in Papua New Guinea where he volunteered as a marketing and promotion officer for Oxfam. There he produced documentary films about Oxfam's work in many of the extremely remote areas of PNG, some of which featured in 2013's International Human Rights Film Festival
Travelling so far afield meant he had to learn the local language, Tok Pisin, pretty quickly, which led to him being a translator as well. Meanwhile, in Port Moresby he joined the local theatre scene and co-directed an adaptation of Young Frankenstein for the Moresby Arts Theatre.
On arrival in Goulburn in 2014, Blake joined the Lieder Theatre and was soon featuring in many of its productions playing a wide variety of roles but seeming to be especially exquisite in comic ones.
Those roles include one of the King's Men in Oink! The 3 Pigs, Dr Watson in Baskerville, Jack Hare in Masquerade, the titular role in the musical Pippin and, most recently, the hapless Rochefort in The Three Musketeers.
Blake won 'Outstanding Performance In A Central Role', one of 6 industry accolades awarded to the Lieder's original piece Monochrome when it toured to the United States last year. He also greatly contributed to the visual design of the work.
Simultaneously, Blake has developed a huge fan base as an early childhood music educator, running the Melodia program for the Hume Conservatorium, using music and his puppet friends to delight and inspire pre-schoolers and their parents throughout the Goulburn district.
Back at the Lieder, Blake has worked in all creative aspects of the theatre's productions, and the company is becoming increasingly dependent on him.
Late last year, the Lieder's artistic director Chrisjohn Hancock, having mentored and collaborated with Blake on the design of over 13 productions, invited him to direct a play for this year's season, suggesting it be one that Chrisjohn had long wanted to do - the quirky and farcical Fire in the Basement. Typically Blake has thrown himself wholeheartedly into this new role, employing all his skills into designing, constructing, branding, producing and directing the play.
Fire in the Basement opens on 19 June - raising funds for multiple sclerosis research - and will continue for a limited run of only seven performances, ending 29 June.
Dates and tickets for the limited season can be obtained online at liedertheatre.com , in person at Goulburn Medical Clinic - McKell Pl, or at the door. For more information call 4821 5066, email@example.com
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