The Norman Mailer Anecdote – Big Scary Animal Exposes Our Appetite For Real-Life Drama

'The Norman Mailer Anecdote'
Our eclectic team of writers from around Australia – and a couple beyond – with decades of combined experience and interest in all fields.

Local BAFTA and Emmy Award-winning screenwriter Anthony Mullins presents a blistering legal drama at Queensland Theatre.

'The Norman Mailer Anecdote', produced by local company Big Scary Animal, is set among Brisbane's upper middle class, where Helen is poised to finally make equity partner at her law firm, until her husband drops the bombshell that he's been accused of an historic sexual assault.

The show leads Queensland Theatre's Door 3 programme – an entry-point for three Queensland-based theatre collectives to stage independent theatre works, be it a bold new play ready for debut, an extant and important script, or a re-tuned, lo-fi classic ripe for reimagining.

'The Norman Mailer Anecdote' delves into the public's fascination with high-profile assault cases, with a cast including Brisbane actors Christopher Sommers ('Elvis', 'The Water Diviner', 'The Bureau Of Magical Things', 'Sweet Tooth') and Zoe Houghton ('Upright', 'Joe v Carole', 'Wanted') and, fresh from graduating from The National Institute of Dramatic Art, Hattie Clegg Robinson. . . Who makes her professional stage debut.

Director Julian Curtis returns from Hollywood for his stage directorial debut, after his work as a lead in the EMMY-nominated 'Are You Afraid Of The Dark'.

Here, we speak to actor Christopher Sommers about the recent experience of being part of Baz Luhrmann's 'Elvis', his role in this show, and why audiences should see it.

Firstly, what was your experience working with Tom Hanks in ‘Elvis’?
It was a surreal experience because I had tested for another role and heard nothing, then got a phone call one day from my agent and was offered the role of Horace Logan. I didn’t get to meet Tom until we were on set and he was in character, and he had a prosthetic nose, and he looked so different from the usual Tom Hanks. We didn’t get to interact until after our first rehearsal as the set was very much controlled chaos with Baz. A live band and dancers – we had a great time working together and he fist-bumped me after our first take. I loved working with him as he had great energy and he was everything you expected from a wonderful actor, and a person we have grown up watching.

What made you return to the stage for this particular play?
A few things I guess: mainly it was Julian Curtis [Director] who asked me to read it and meet for coffee, and he is an actor I have admired and respected. When he asked me to read the play I was intrigued by the story and I couldn’t put it down. It was such a page-turner. When he said he was going to direct, I thought, fantastic! So the script hooked me! Then the team. Zoe Houghton and I have done readings and creative developments together and she is a ferocious, infectious actor to work with and I have always loved her 'no bullsh.t' approach to everything. And Hattie is a wonderful talent that everyone should see. Anthony Mullins has written a fantastic story and three wonderfully brilliant and flawed characters who are fun to spend a night with.

What do you hope audiences take away from this production?
My hope is that audiences take away from the production the feeling I had when I read it! I laughed, I gasped and I was very moved. A feeling of a massive journey over the course of a single night! A conversation that will be had in the foyer, or on the way home, or in the bar after the show, or with us! Come and see it! New work is always alive and evolving and the audience are part of that process.

Why does Brisbane need to see this play?
It’s a story that should be seen with an audience that will make you think and make you feel. It’s fantastic writing and storytelling that is best served like a well-prepared meal in an intimate setting, Door 3 is that venue – thought-provoking and engaging, you will have an opinion and it will make you sit up and pay attention.

'The Norman Mailer Anecdote' plays Diane Cilento Studio (Queensland Theatre) from 3-18 May.

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