The Lord of Misrule

[a submission for the Œb sharpı season]


the play

The Lord of Misrule is a new work by Australian writer Sam Sejavka.

It is an absurdist drama that manipulates symbols in an attempt to construct an overarching metaphor for the culture of drug addiction. In Angel Gear - one of Sejavkaıs earlier plays - dealt with the same theme but with hard realism: Lord of Misrule approaches it surrealistically. There is an attempt to alienise the familiar - so we may regard it with a fresh eye.

Often the issue of addiction is super-saturated with prejudice, cliche, disinformation and transferred morals that it is difficult to trust oneıs perspective. Lord of Misrule attempts to shear away all of this. By distancing the audience from familiar associations, it attempts to create an objective overview in which the nature of addiction - how it operates within a person and between people - may be clearly and thoughtfully reviewed. It is allegorical in form, taking place in an unknown time and space, where the symbols are changed but the interrelationships remain the same. It has a strong narrative and characters are strongly painted. Estimated length is ninety minutes.

the group - ex nihilo theatre

The core of this new group comprises Christian Leavesley [Director], Sam Sejavka [Writer] and Nadav Rayman [Music]. Next yearıs production of Lord of Misrule represents the next stage in the evolution of their artistic relationship. For the first time a name has been given to their joint work - Ex Nihilo theatre. The groupıs ambition is to crystallise its vision, producing new and challenging works of high quality and significant artistic value.

The three principals first worked together three years ago on Eaters of Filth - Œa dark whimsical tale of organ harvestingı set partly in the future and partly in the time of the Aztecs. This was a shorter Sejavka play, a black comedy produced originally at VCA, remounted at La Mama, and later transferring to Jigsaw Theatre, Canberra. Though the seasons were successful, the group was left looking for something larger to tackle, hence the development of Lord of Misrule.

Similarly to Eaters of Filth, their latest project is set in an unusual, possibly future environment, where the realms of possibility are broadened and issues can be addressed with objectivity. It retains much of the humour of Eaters of Filth, but is a great deal harder in tone and generally a more substantial work

theatrical vision and notes on directorial style

Christian Leavesleyıs most recent work has primarily concerned itself with the development and production of new Australian writing.

His directorial style is rests heavily in the exploration of space and pattern. He works to situate actors in a physical world reflective of obstacles or tensions presented by the text, rather than visual aesthetics or staging practicalities - an approach that often results in the creation of an imagined environment unconstrained by realism.

Similarly, he works to map charactersı patterns of emotion, psychology or spirituality with their actual physical movement - both within scenes and across the whole play. These physical stage maps often become birds-eye renderings of the charactersı journeys themselves. (Anecdotally, audiences seem to be affected subconsciously by this kind of patterning.)

Leavesleyıs style is also described by a desire to locate points of correlation both within and without a play, revealing the patterns and hidden connections that echo throughout our lives: coincidences, deja vu, cycles of repeated history. Sejavkaıs writing tends to complement this intention, in its detailed depiction of imaginary worlds and use of historical and mythical reference.

With regard to Lord of Misrule, Leavesley is particularly interested in dialogue that describes characters which are both archetypal yet idiosyncratic. The words and actions of characters have a familiarity that is difficult to trace. We enter environments which we know somehow, yet in reality could never have claimed to have inhabited. Part of Leavesley and Ex Nihilosı vision is to naturalise such displaced, unusual experiences for an audience. Their reality is reinforced with lighting and sound. Set elements have a simple essential quality. Ideas intertwine like microscopic nerves.

the nuts and bolts

Lord of Misrule is scheduled for performance over three weeks in March 2002, at the Courthouse theatre, as part of the La Mama season. It has a cast of four. If selected for b sharp, we would hope to take the production to Sydney as soon as possible after this initial season - so as not to lose impetus. This would set our preferred dates inJune/July.

In terms of support, we could look forward to at least some assistance from La Mama itself, though it is still to early to be specific in this regard. Knowing that a transference to Sydney was on the cards, we could definitely simplify matters, finding the cheapest most streamlined means of getting the show to Sydney. As productions dates near, our needs will become clearer, but suffice to say it will be a simple production and no great challenge in terms of logistics.

Please note that further background material is available on request. This includes CD recordings of Nadav Raymanıs work, press reviews of earlier productions, etc. A website with extra details of Sam Sejavkaıs work may be found at

Included in this submission are CVs and the first act of the play itself.



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