Second Showing for One Act Winner

Paula Mandl, Steven Newitt (stage manager) and Sonia Zabala at the 2017 Festival of One Act Plays. IMAGE: Supplied

Two actors from Townsville Little Theatre will represent North Queensland when they perform their award-winning play at the Monash One Act Play Festival this weekend.

Paula Mandl and Sonia Zabala, who together won Best Director, Best Female Actress in an Open Category, Best Production and Best Unpublished Script at this year’s Festival of One Act Plays, will reprise their performance of Random Acts of Fiction on Friday night against other award-winning plays from across Victoria.

Paula said the play packs a lot of twists and turns.

“Sonia plays an author, Angie Prinkler, she’s  a world-renowned historical romance novelist; and I play Nora Swift, her biggest fan. It’s a story about what happens when I meet her at a Literary Festival and bump into her in the street a few days later and we become friends. I looks at what happens when a total fan girl meets her idol – can they become friends, or can it turn a bit sinister? And what happens actually is that we do become great friends, I tell her that I’ve written something and show it to her to get her feedback and she gives me an honest criticism of my work and I don’t like what she says, so I turn a bit nasty – I get a bit psycho really,”said Paula.

“It’s a pretty full-on play. There’s a lot of comedy at the start with me being all fan-girly, and there’s a really nice friendship that develops and nobody really expects this twist. When we performed it up here, honestly the audience… you could drop a pin. Everybody was just watching, they couldn’t believe what was happening; it’s a very good play in that regard – there’s so much light and dark.

“When we performed it up here we had a friend of ours, Pete Taylor, play the live soundtrack on piano for us. He can’t come down to Melbourne, so he’s actually recorded the music he wrote for our play and we can take it down with us.”

Random Acts of Fiction was written by Melbourne-based playwright Tim Hehir, who’ll be in the audience when Paula and Sonya perform on Friday.

“That definitely puts the pressure on,”said Paula. “And then we found out, when we performed it here we were in a category of about 8 different plays from groups around North Queensland, when we go  down to Melbourne apparently there’s about 18 plays from all the Victorian groups, and they’re all award-winning plays, so they’ve all won their own Festivals and they’re all brought together in this pinnacle of One Act plays in Victoria.

“I think we just want to see that what we do up here – the performances and the plays we put on up here in Townsville – can match it with the metropolitan kind of theatre groups and companies. We’d love to get nominated, if not win. We’re really keen to see that what we do up here is on par with our metro colleagues.”


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