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WINNER -  Best New Australian Play Award (Redfest Dramafest 2013)

Our Theatre Kits

An in-expensive production for your community Theatre Group which will be available in July 2023!

 

Minimal props & a small cast size challenges cast & crew whilst entertaining and educating audiences.

 

Your Theatre Crew & Audiences will laugh, cry & learn, whilst having donated to Cancer Research.

"Welcome Community Theatre Groups" from the late Briohne Sykes (Scriptwriter) and Dee Handyside (Composer)

Our Reviews

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Audience Member

Vicki Richards

"It was profound, thought provoking and touching.  The act took a very serious subject and created an entertaining view of the impact on everyday people.  I definitely took away an education, an awareness of some of the issues sufferers and survivors deal with, and a thankful heart". 

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Audience Member

Heather Dunn

A highly informative and enjoyable afternoon of entertainment. I'm sure we are all able to recognise ourselves or someone we know in each of the characters portrayed. It was interesting to consider how each different behaviour demonstrated might impact a cancer sufferer. This production held a mirror to my own attempts to provide support, but it did so kindly, gently, constructively and with such good humour. I feel I have a much better idea about how to be a good friend to someone who is suffering.

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Chief Music Critic, The Courier Mail

Noel Mengel

"A joyful musical reaction to a deadly serious subject".

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Reviewer, AussieTheatre.com

Bobby-Lea Dionysius

[Briohne] Sykes has done a good job in making a sensitive subject accessible to the public via the medium of theatre and has certainly succeeded in creating an opportunity for further discussion amongst audience members.

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Musician/Producer and Lead Guitarist for Brian Cadd, Colleen Hewitt, session guitarist for Renee Geyer, Normie Rowe, Marcia Hines and band member for 'Long Way to the Top' Australian Tour.

Tony Naylor

"I was moved by the experience. Dee Handyside has captured the wide ranging emotions of the subject matter with dignity and compassion. All the songs are complimentary to the unfolding stories of the cast and move the drama forwards. I also enjoyed the diversity of styles and musical arrangements of the other songs which lend themselves to great stage production".

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Singers-Songwriters, Creators of musical "Billy Buckett- A Rock 'n' Roll Love Story".

Cath Mundy & Jay Turner

"Absolutely brilliant, so well presented, offering a comprehensive tool-kit to theatre groups wishing to produce this impactful and significant work and make it a great success of many levels".

What do you get in our Theatre Kit?

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Each Theatre Kit contains:

  • 6 x Original Script booklets for Cast &  Director

 

  •  1 x Original Soundtrack CD for vocals example  

 

  • 5 x digital download cards of Original soundtrack for vocals example 

 

  •  Printout of instructions

 

  • USB STICK CONTAINING:

    • PDF Script & license for photocopying of up to additional 10 scripts 

    • PDF Song lyrics & license for photocopying of up to additional copies of lyrics

    • Backing Tracks (Digital mp3)  for rehearsal and performance - with license to download up to additional 10 copies of soundtrack (with & without vocals)

    • PDF Performance Rights for 2 performances (additional performance rights can be purchased for $50)

    • Marketing Logos and wording for your posters, tickets and programmes

    • PDF Media & Advertising Guide

    • PDF Audience, Cast & Crew handout 'Not Sure What to Say & Do?' as developed with Griffith University & licence to print 15 for Cast & Crew & as many for audience as tickets you sell. 

    • Advice from us if required

You can also choose to purchase a Box of Original Production scripts and Soundtracks to be sold as souvenirs at performance at a Recommended Retail Price (RRP) - those unsold will be purchased back by us (less postage).

38% of our proceeds from this showkit fee will be donated to the Australian Cancer Research Foundation.

The Characters & Original Production Members Experiences 

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Director - Debbie Taylor

The Original production was based at Crete St Theatre, Beenleigh, SE Queensland.  This cast and crew then toured SE Qld entering various original theatre piece competitions and winning various awards. 

 

Debbie says: "A heartfelt script with true depth and truth that is rarely found in new works. This play has the ability to make you laugh and appreciate that life is still happening and attitudes are what makes the journey, not the disease. 'Powerfully Fragile' gave insights and shared moments in one person's journey that touched the audiences without being overpowering and I know that the cast and crew all had a special connection with this show. Any crew that chooses to put this show together and present it on their stage will forever have a piece of the wonderfully talented playwright in their hearts and minds and that is the magic of theatre".

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"Two" - Renee Hood

"Two" is a magnet for unhealthy relationships.  Her husband, Garry, suppresses her.  

 

Due to all the hurts in her life, she is extraordinarily pessimistic and on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

 

Renee says: "'Two' was instantly relatable to me. She's the kind of woman who worries way too much and knows how to look after others better than she knows how to look after herself. At the time of auditioning and being a part of this show, she was very relatable to me and what I was going through in my life. Also, ‘Two’ has a husband who doesn’t treat her right. While I have never been married, I have had long-term relationships where I didn’t listen to the people around me telling me that my partner was not the right man for me. It’s pretty special to play a character who teaches you something about your own life. ​ Playing 'Two' in 'Powerfully Fragile' was really exciting. It was the first time that I had been in a touring performance. We visited lots of locations and were able to share this story with so many people. From the very first reading of the script with the rest of the cast, it was obvious that the show was going to be amazing. The biggest challenge for me was having the confidence to portray this role in an honest and authentic way. I was definitely inspired by my fellow cast mates to take on this challenge and to learn from their experiences in theatre and performance. ​ To someone playing the role of ‘Two’, I would say the best way to start is to write beside each line what’s going on in her head at that moment. She puts on such a brave face most of the time, but there should be a hint of the pain and anxiety she’s feeling underneath. Look for the moments when she lets her guard down, reveals her insecurities and then with a snap she puts that mask right back on again. ' Two’ is so blinded by what she believes is love that she doesn’t want to see the truth. The irony is that she is so compassionate and loving towards all the other characters and yet she doesn’t show that love to herself. All of the characters go through a transformation in this story and while ‘Two’ is still clutching to the hope that she will mend her relationship with her husband, you see a little glimpse that maybe she is becoming stronger and more self-assured".

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"Four" - Linda Hall

"Four" is overbearing, controlling and avoids doing anything that she deems too difficult.  As a result, her husband, Laurie, is brow beaten, but her children are undisciplined.  She cannot understand why the others complain about their problems while no one listens to hers. She believes her financial, emotional and physical problems are worse that those of her friends and acquaintances, and she is always unhappy because of it.

Linda says: "I could relate to 'Four' as I used to know someone very similar. I think a lot of people have a 'Four' in their lives. ​ Playing such a self-centred character that was at the same time funny when the subject was the opposite of funny. Making my character believable and relatable without offending was a bit tricky. The responses from personal guests were all positive. I got comments such as "What an amazing story" and "So well done". It made people think and feel which is what we wanted. A few people said it was a great teaching tool and should be taken to groups and schools. For me personally, I had some people say they loved my character and were glad some humour was involved - which for them made the play more real. ​ My advice is to not hold back. Commit to the 'not so nice' side of 'Four'. Be physical - act with your face as well as your voice. The audience watch 'Four' very closely. Enjoy the role - she is wonderful to play.

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"One" - Phillipa Bowe

'One" has been recently diagnosed with cancer.  She has children and the love of a devoted husband.  Prior to cancer she was the glue that kept her friends and family together.  Even when her friends are frustrating, she shows them the compassion that they seem to lack.

Phillipa says: " I was very fortunate to have been in the audience of the first reading of “Powerfully Fragile” months before I had any notion I would be involved as an actress. I remember being moved by the honesty of the piece, the words reverberated within me and stayed with me. This surprised me as up until that time I had never had any connection to Breast Cancer – no friends, no family members have had the disease and I have always had good health. Yet, this play touched me because the words came from a place of truth, through Briohne and her family and friends “lived” experience of cancer. ​ When I was cast as “One” I was excited to play such a complex character but also scared. How could I bring truth to the writer’s words? Then I talked to Briohne as she share some of her experiences, and I started to think in terms of what is important to me:- my family, my friends, my work, my independence. What would it mean if they were threatened – threatened by Cancer? I also started to think about my mum and her fight with chronic disease, in her case it was chronic heart failure, and her death at 60, and I could see her life’s journey reflected in “Ones” journey. ​ I felt a great responsibility to “getting this right” of being authentic to the truth of Briohne’s text. This play connects with so many people and reflects the realities of their lives. As I performed I could hear people crying in the audience – that was very powerful and confronting. Touring with the play “One” stayed with me, for months, even off stage. She made me contemplate my own life. This wasn’t always easy but on reflection I am so grateful. If you have the opportunity to play “One” grab it with both hands. ​ Don’t be overwhelmed by the subject matter – find the quirky funny elements of “One”. She is physically fighting against cancer but she is also fighting to still be herself – to retain her wonderfully unique spirit.

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"Three" - Jermia Turner

is desperate for a baby.  To achieve her ends, she is constantly visiting alternative doctors and trying all the latest fads. She quit her job years ago when she and her husband, Mark, first tried to get pregnant.  Now, she works from home to help support her health habits.  She is always trying to fix everyone else.

Jermia says: "I think that each of the characters within the play are very real and human characters and we all exhibit traits within each of them. 'Three' is the character that is the overly positive friend who seems to think that positivity is all you need to get through any tough situation. Caught up in her own issues at home, she unintentionally burdens the friend she is trying to support which, although we don't like to admit it, I think we've all accidentally been a little too self indulgent at least once. ​ I think the biggest challenge within the play is that it brings the reality of cancer and it's absolute destruction to the forefront of your everyday thoughts. It's definitely not a play that you do and then just forget about and move on. It really impacts you and when you're living a character for every single rehearsal, every single show for months and months; completely dedicating your life to this ugly and confronting truth. It's very confronting and I probably will continue to struggle with the reality. I do though, think that this project is such a unique and beautiful way to showcase such an evil. ​ My biggest piece of advice is not to judge the character but to find the human elements of her. It's easy to stand back and say "how could she be so selfish and only think about herself whilst her friend is so sick!" But there's so much more to, not only 'Three' but to all of the characters. Understand her personal struggles between herself and her husband. Understand the relationship and closeness between her and 'One'. Find her highs and lows - just explore her and build her relationships. 'Three' is a beautiful character and having the chance to perform such an important piece of theatre is an absolute gift and an opportunity that doesn't come around very often. Treat the material and the character with the respect that it deserves and you'll reap amazing benefits, not only in your portrayal of your character but in fantastic and moving experiences that you'll share and create for yourself and others"

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"Man" - Mark Reynolds

"Man" is the adoring husband of ONE.  He loves his wife.  He is her strength and her support.  He constantly maintains his composure for her benefit.  

Mark says: "I could relate to the role of 'Man'. 'Man' is a quiet character, trying to stay strong to support his wife. He is going through every moment of this sad journey with his wife but is also struggling with his own emotions and feelings that he tries to protect his wife from by keeping it all bottled up. Like a lot of men he feels the stigma that he must be brave, he must not show vulnerability to his wife so he suffers in silence. ​ The biggest challenge of this project was being able to show emotion and vulnerability of the character. Even though 'Man' is trying to stay strong in front of his wife, in private his real feelings come pouring out. Harnessing those emotions and portraying them to an audience in a convincing manner was challenging. During many of the performances I could hear audience members sobbing as 'Man' bared all his emotions. This play is a powerful insight into how cancer touches upon the lives of all the people who are connected with the person battling cancer. ​ The role of 'Man' is a minor part with a major impact. Don't be afraid to show the emotion you feel. 'Man' is on his own journey as he deals with what is happening with his wife. Don't under-estimate the importance of the character and the journey he is on".

Other Resources & Information

Synopsis & Order of Songs

OVERTURE: 'Morning Patrol Fraser Island' Instrumental of a care-free life before diagnosis. To be played as audience are being seated. SCENE 1: 'One' has just told his/her friends of his/her cancer diagnosis. Each friend, in shock, responds with questions of how, why, disbelief, optimism and pessimism. SONG: 'Stormclouds' (Orchestral Rock) SCENE 2: Although 'One' has many visitors and gifts, she is finding it hard to deal with friends good intentions and prior to surgery, just wants to flee. SONG: 'I'm Scared' (Alternative) SCENE 3: In hospital, after the surgery, 'One' is visited separately by her friends. Feeling uncomfortable, each visitor decides to share their own news and we start to get to know about their home situations a little more. From the inappropriate comment such as "Have they said how much time you've got?" to the hilarious rantings about an un-romantic partner, a bitch of a neighbour and a throbbing sore toe, 'One' tries to be supportive to all. SCENE 4: At a coffee shop, the friends sit around a table with an empty chair where 'One' would normally sit. Fearing the worst for their missing friend, they discuss alternative therapies such as drinking urine, boiling weeds into a herbal tea and that apparently there is a good type of cancer and a bad type of cancer. One thing is for sure - they don't want to lose their friend. SONG: 'Just Think Positive' (Jazz/Swing) SCENE 5: 'One' is alone and narrates a poem which summarizes her thoughts and feelings about her friends. Has she become a burden to them? She apologises and wouldn't wish this disease on anyone. 'One' has a physical struggle with the 'cancerous mass' which is constantly present on stage with her. Neither win the struggle. They are equal. SCENE 6: The remaining three friends meet at 'Fours' home for a cuppa and a catch-up. The lives of 'Two' and 'Three' are moving along by taking on different hobbies and work. However, 'Four' is his/her own worst enemy with regards to change and a minor disagreement occurs. They all realise how 'One' was always there to empathise and understand each one separately. SCENE 7: A very moving scene involving 'One' and her husband 'Man'. 'One' is in a chair, wearing a headscarf having endured chemotherapy. She is at her lowest point and feels that she is a "scrap of old rag". However, her husband disagrees by declaring his love and says that he see's her as a "scarf of fine silk". A battle ensues between the husband and the cancerous mass. ​SONG: 'Forty Percent' (R&B) SCENE 8: At the coffee shop, the friends are excitedly waiting for 'One' to join them. There has been a marriage break-up and another failed IVF attempt - but 'Four' continues to think that out of all of them, her life is actually still the worst! As they are joined by 'One' and her husband, they are glad that the cancer treatments are over and reflect on the recent past and the successful treatments of eating carrots and a positive attitude! They all count their blessings. SONG: 'The Unknown Destination Train' (Country Rock) Drawing of raffles/auctions and THANK YOU on behalf of the Australian Cancer Research Foundation ​ ENCORE: SONG 'Thank You Friends' A motown-pop feel-good song that celebrates friendship and is guaranteed to have the audience clapping along and leaving with a smile on their face! ​

What Props will you require?

Here is a list of the basics that you will need. 2 sheets sewed together A chair 4 handbags A couch Teacups & mugs Get Well Balloon Various greeting cards A bowl of fruit A plant A small table & 4 chairs A box of chocolates Family photos Silk scarf Large ball (as used in yoga) A wheelbarrow An old rag scarf Side table & lamp A few wrapped gifts Kids paintings Vase of flowers Water bottle & glass Teapot & cup Coffee jug & mug 2 small rugs Feel free to add any items that you wish to the above list!

Fees & Licensing

Here's how it works! ​ We are independent of a Theatrical Licensing Agent because we want to keep our costs down in order to donate more to the Australian Cancer Research Foundation. The Silk Rags Project owns the entire work - it is our copyright. ​ So there is only one agreement that you have to sign. There are no APRA/AMCOS reporting or licensing duties or fees. We've done all the hard work - freeing you up to perform! The cost includes 1 x performance fee. You can purchase additional performance fees for $50.

Type, Genre & Length

One Act. Comedy/Satire. Approx 1 hour 15 mins for production (but allow extra time for community raffle/auctions/presentations). Previous fundraising events have included Canapes and Cocktails, Afternoon Tea inclusive in the ticket price).

Number in Cast

6 - 8: 4 x female (friends) 1 x male (husband) 1-2 any (waiter/waitress, inside sheets) At this stage, the play is designed for a group of female friends. However, in 2024, we are looking to adapt the script to represent a group of male friends instead.

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The Music - do you have to sing?

Not necessarily! The songs are performed in between each scene. The backing tracks are provided if you wish to sing along to them. You can choose whom you wish to perform the songs such as: ​ 1. Cast members (with or without choreography) 2. Additional singers 3. Play the original soundtrack & vocals inbetween each scene (without any crew member singing) 4. Have a local dance group perform to the orginal soundtrack - therefore lessening the burden on the theatre cast members. It's up to you! No orchestral scores are available for this show.

Duty of care to Cast, Crew & Audience

Whilst undertaking this project, it may be that cast or crew experience mild upset - due to the subject matter. Although this project is simple to organise - short length, minimal characters and props - our purpose is to make it challenging and educational. We recommend that you encourage team members to share their feelings and experiences. Similarly, at the end of a performance, a handout is given to audience members. This has been developed in conjunction with Griffith University and the audience will now be better prepared to deal with a cancer diagnosis of a friend or family member.

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Know where your money is going

38% of our proceeds are donated to Australian Cancer Research Foundation

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This means for every $50 spent - we will donate $19.03 directly to cancer research. 

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