Short + Sweet Theatre Festival kicks in from February 6 with plenty of Indian entries

This year’s line-up of tasty treats (to be announced at tonight’s launch event at the theatre) has two programs that change each week including a slew of local, regional, interstate and international entries.

In Week 3, in the Top 80 mainstage program 21-24 Feb, Chennai theatre company 4swithin is coming to Sydney with their play Red Jacket by Hemalatha Swaminathan.
Directed by Mr G Krishnamurthy,  it stars Dvij Drishnamurthy and Tejaswini Vijay.

Short+Sweet has spread the popular 10-minute format in theatre, dance, cabaret & comedy across Australia and the globe with festivals as far afield as India, Malaysia, Dubai and NZ. Its Hollywood festival is the world’s go-to showcase for actors, writers and directors for stage and screen.

This year’s Sydney Theatre festival has been boosted by a host of new talent as a result of Short+Sweet’s New Directors’ Initiative in which 40 participants were mentored by experienced directors that included a masterclass by Actors Centre Australia legend Dean Carey.

A number of Indian and Indian- Australian artists feature in the festival – Story Teller – Week 1 Wildcard program the weekend of 9 and 10 February features award-winning Sydney director Upasna Ved (graduate of the NY Film Academy and the Australian Film TV and Radio School) as well as New York Film Academy graduate and international actor (back and forth from India to Australia) Brij Parsahar and now Sydney-based Indian actress Uvi Sharma.

The 2019 fest will again feature judges’ voting and the People’s Choice audience votes – all heading for the April Gala Finals. And new festival director Sarah Purdue has introduced two themed weeks: LGBTQIA Week (week 4) to coincide with Mardi Gras; and Women’s Week (week 5) aligned with International Women’s Day. Highlights of the week 1 line-up (opening 7 Feb).

Sarah said she was excited to be presenting a diverse and engaging festival this year.  “We have artists in our festival this year representing the Indian and Chinese Australian communities.

“Productions from the Illawarra, Bundanoon, Canberra and as far away as Los Angeles and Chennai. First-time directors who have recently completed their HSC and others with over 13 years’ experience in Short+Sweet.

Short+Sweet Theatre opens at the Tom Mann Theatre Theatre, 136 Chalmers St, Surry Hills on 7 Feb and runs through to April with both a Top 80 (Thur-Sat 7.30pm, Sun 6.30pm) and separate Wildcards program (Sat 3.30pm, Sun 2.30pm).

There are 10 plays a night with a new program each week. The gala finals take place in April. Tickets are $27 Top 80 and $24 Concession/Wildcards. A special online student price $15 applies for all Thursday shows. More info, weekly program and bookings are all available at www.shortandsweet.org/sydney   or email  tickets@shortandsweet.orgnull

Week 1: Story Teller by Jean Blasiar

Performance week: Week 1, Wild Card, 9th & 10th February 2019

Director: Upasna Ved

Cast: Male Lead: Brij Parashar        Female Lead : Urvi Sharma

The lights are out.   The mood was supposed to be romantic, but the lights went out for real ruining the meal and the mood. A husband who is either a very good storyteller or having one of the worst days of his life arrives home on his anniversary without flowers, without a gift, but with an unbelievable excuse why. Does his wife believe him?

The doorbell rings with the truth.

Writer: Jean Blasiar EMAIL: jeanvt@pacbell.net

Jean Blasiar is a playwright with eight full-length productions in the Los Angeles area, one of which was optioned by 20th Century Fox for a pilot. As President of MGR Productions, Ms. Blasiar has produced twelve full-length productions in LA, San Francisco, and New York City, and has several screenplays in development. The Emmy Budd series is dedicated to all little girls who lived in a simpler time when hometown adventure could be found waiting around every corner. Ms. Blasiar resides in California and is currently at work on her next Emmy Budd novel.

Director: Upasna Ved            

Graduated from New York Film Academy & Australian Film Television & Radio School Upasna has worked in many short films and international projects. In most recent short Film Woman on Top was officially selected in 2 of the most prestigious Indian film festivals. Her most recent documentary on controversial subject of farmers’ suicide in India is in postproduction, scheduled to be released in April this year.

Cast: Brij Parsahar   

An acting graduate from New York film Academy, Brij is an internationally accomplished actor juggling creative projects between two homes Australia & India. Worked with some impressive names such as Angelia Jolie, Unbroken, 2014 & production houses like Warner brothers, Zombie, 2013, Brij is awaiting release of his two major theatrical release in Bollywood Varanasi & Yeh Kaisa Khiladi. Back in India Brij’s own production company Orion Entertainment is heavily involved in making documentaries concerning social and welfare issues working closely with Indian National Television to bring change and improvement within India.

Urvi Sharma

From the colorful & exotic city of Rajasthan, Urvi is fairly new to the theatre culture of Sydney, however back in India Urvi has been actively involved in theatre performances, commercials and short films.  Most of creative collaborations are women oriented themes and stories that creates awareness on issues concerning women like Intimate Partner Violence or crime against women in India. This is her maiden venture in Sydney’s theater world.

Week 1 Highlights:

Week 1’s offerings include Boyfriend 2.0 by veteran writer/director Paulene Turner. A guy visits his ex-girlfriend to find he’s been replaced by a shiny new model! Steven Tait, Eveline Schubert, Jack Douglas and Andy Cohen star in this futuristic new play about Artificial Intelligence!

By the Way, by Andrea Fleck Clardy (USA) portrays an exhausted Asian businesswoman and an obnoxious ‘Anglo’ talk truth in an airport café. John Brown directs Bess Yager and Suzanne Chin.

Peter Snoad’s The Notice is a quirky comedy about how writers see the world around them. Amelia Gilday directs Anthony Ghosn and Alex Fenner for Moontan Productions.

Time Savers by Barry Wood (UK) sees a cynical salesman trying to sell time travel to an intrigued customer. Jesse Hilford directs Rachael Millanta and Rob Ferguson.

In A Soldier’s Testimony by Sydney writer Paul Bowman, a soldier frees an enemy combatant then has to explain his actions to his superiors as well as confronting his own beliefs. Dany Akbar directs Arshia Aryan, Russel Cronin and Peter David Allison. More detail for these and more is available in individual play briefs under separate cover.

The SDRO, written and directed by Xeno Nemos for The Immortals stars Charlotte Young, Don Ferguson and David Hodgkins. A terrorist holds up the office of traffic infringements… with surprises all round!

The Wildcard section (Saturday and Sunday matinees) features Love on the Line by Kat Kitty and features the writer as ‘Lilly’ – a single 38-year-old woman who is swiping her life away on dating apps… That is, until she meets one very different guy who changes her life forever. Also stars Maggie Malgorzata.

Plus Story Teller by Jean Blasier (US) featuring Indian Australian director Upasna Ved and actors Brij Parsahar and Urvi Sharma. A husband who comes home to his wife on their anniversary – in a blackout – without gift or even flowers has some explaining to do!

Short+Sweet Theatre opens at the Tom Mann Theatre Theatre, 136 Chalmers St, Surry Hills on 7 Feb and runs through to April with both a Top 80 (Thur-Sat 7.30pm, Sun 6.30pm) and separate Wildcards program (Sat 3.30pm, Sun 2.30pm). There are 10 plays a night with a new program each week. The gala finals take place in April. Tickets are $27 Top 80 and $24 Concession / Wildcards. A special online student price $15 applies for all Thursday shows. More info, weekly program and bookings are all available at www.shortandsweet.org/sydney   or email  tickets@shortandsweet.org

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