Stray Dogs Productions 1995-1999
The Human Behan (1995)
A biographical fantasia on the life of Brendan Behan, the play moves along like an Irish jig – fast, funny, furious – with music and energy, exploring Behan’s dilemmas as a human being and an alcoholic playwright, as well as his troubled relationship with the IRA.
Produced at the Mission Theatre in Newcastle, September 1995.
Writer: Carl Caulfield. Dramaturg: Paul Thompson. Directed by Felicity Biggins. Set Design: Vickie Newman. Lighting: Malcolm Miles. Cast: Bob Ellis, Brian Joyce, Tim Richards, Kate Sweeny, Julie Kirby. Musicians: Jonathan Barry. Phil Clifton, Sue Morley. Stage Manager: Terry Gonzales.
Also invited to the Sydney Fringe Festival in January 1996, where it played a season at the Bondi Pavilion.
It was first read at The Stables Theatre, on the 23rd of June, 1993, with a cast that included David Wenham, Valerie Bader, Judi Farr and Drew Forsythe, as well as Bob Ellis as Behan.
It was the lead, it had more words than Hamlet, I had to sing, dance, smoke cigars, sodomise a shop dummy, have delirium tremens, betray the IRA and die of diabetes, things I have not thus far done in life. I thought I would not even get the lines down, but I did. And what followed showed me why it is most actors would work for nothing in a lead role anywhere, so great is the rush of oxygen it brings. (Bob Ellis posted on acting on his blog in 2013, reflecting about his performance as Brendan Behan.)
Angel of Mercy (1996)
Angel Of Mercy Funded by the NSW Ministry of the Arts.
Writer: Carl Caulfield. Dramaturg: Paul Thompson.
Director: Felicity Biggins. Lighting: James Jablonski.
Set and multi-media: Dean Parker. Cast: Lawrence Aitchison,
Barry Shepherd, Kath Leahy, Greg Davis.
Produced at the Newcastle Community Arts Centre from July 13th to the 27th. Reprised in February, 1997 in association with the Hunter Valley Theatre Company as part of the 1997 Bicentenary of Newcastle.
The Faithful and Tower of Song (1997)
Two short plays produced at the Newcastle Fringe Festival.
Pursued By Demons (1997)
Pursued By Demons, a play for radio. Funded by Australia Council. Produced by 2NUR FM on September 27th. Winner of the 1997 CBBA (Community Broadcasting Association of Australia) Special Spoken Word Program Award.
These Foolish Things (1998)
Produced at the Civic Theatre in association with Civic Theatre Newcastle. Writer: Carl Caulfield. Director: Felicity Biggins. Lighting Design: Adam Zakarauskas. Set Design: Robyn Greenwell. Stage Manager: Enid Bailey. Cast: Rod Ansell, Barry Shepherd and Kate Sweeny.
Phil McGrath and Helen Atkinson
Being Sellers (1998)
First produced at the Civic Playhouse, Newcastle, in June, 1998.
Writer: Carl Caulfield. Lighting Design: Adam Zakarauskas. Directed by Jonathan Biggins. Cast: Carl Caulfield.
Peter Sellers was revered for his ability to transform into characters, from Clouseau to Chance the Gardener. But who was he? What was the personal cost of his comic genius? Being Sellers is the hilarious and confronting unmasking of a tortured Goon. Carl Caulfield's one man show exploits the theatricality of Sellers' chameleon art. There is a gallery of memorable characters over a lifetime and Caulfield recreates them all in one night!
Edinburgh Fringe Festival from August 16th to 31st at C Venues. (Selected by The List as one of the highlights of the Fringe.)
Man In Moon Theatre, King’s Road, Chelsea, London, from November 24th to December 12th, 1998.
Performed Being Sellers at ANU, Canberra, as part of Australian National Playwright’s Conference, 2001.
Season at Geelong Performing Arts Centre in Geelong, Victoria, 2000.
Reprised with David Boyle as Sellers at the Waterloo East Theatre, a new off West End Theatre in London in November, 2010. Performed by David Boyle and directed by Simon Green. Also part of Brits on Broadway from 23rd November to 12th December at 59E59 Theaters, New York.
Caulfield is never judgmental, though, and takes as much care to impart Sellers’ moral failings as his singularly fecund imagination. Most of all, he shows us the very human being behind the venerated clown. (Madeleine North, Time Out, 2nd December 1998.)
The piece is skillfully written. It takes us from theatre dressing rooms in Sellers’ childhood, through the larky RAF and ENSA (Entertainment National Service Association) years, to raging, disappointing marriages (“like cars – beautiful at first, then after a while you hear a rattling”). (Libby Purves, The Times, 6th November, 2010.)
Carl Caulfieled as Peter Sellers's character Dr Strangelove
David Boyle, Waterloo East Theatre, (Photo © Oscar Blustin)