Love and Sacrifice
At the end of A Different Client, a short stage drama about love and sacrifice is a twist you won’t see coming. Leave your assumptions at the door.
When Paul Bugeja came upon the short play A Different Client, he was struck by its “unusual premise”.
“I liked the piece initially because theatre is quite simply, for me, about storytelling, and the best stories in my opinion are those that surprise us especially as we, the audience, sit there, all detective-like, and think we know where it is going,” Bugeja tells SX.
“This play took the audience to a place where they were sure they knew the outcome and then bang – it whacks them with a very different proposition.”
Written by US playwright Josh Hartwell, A Different Client is a suspenseful ten-minute drama which follows the story of an escort, Danny, who arrives at the home of a client, Marshall. From there, without spoiling the story, it veers into an unexpected territory. Needless to say, viewers will be surprised, others will be shocked.
Indeed, this is one of the main themes explored in the play – our tendency to jump into conclusions and take everything on face value. The story that unfolds between Danny and Marshall will challenge this notion. As Bugeja says: “Never assume anything in any situation, no matter how obvious it might seem to you. Be open to anything and be prepared to be surprise yourself with your own actions, especially when they are far from what you would normally expect of yourself”.
In dealing with the concepts of love and loss, the play also explores how far people will go in making sacrifices for the benefit of others.
“The sacrifices we make, that personally affect us deeply, can have far-reaching effects on those for whom we make the sacrifice,” Bugeja says.
“Never underestimate the power of any action you make.”
Formerly from Melbourne and now based in Sydney, Bugeja is a Victorian College of Arts-trained actor who has appeared in numerous films, fringe productions and short films. He is also a published author of two non-fiction books on Australian true crime and the Australian outback. A Different Client marks his directorial theatre debut, guiding actors Greg Wilken and Robert Zenca.
The production is showing as part of Short+Sweet, an annual festival that showcases ten-minute plays. It’s an event Bugeja says plays an important role in Australia’s arts landscape.
“Not only is Short+Sweet a chance for a lot of writers to have their work aired where it might not be otherwise, it offers hundreds of creative people the chance to do what they love – act and direct.
“And it gives audiences the chance to see ten plays in one night.
“With Short+Sweet, every ten minutes you get the chance to engage with a new play and a new creative team. Chances are, you’re going to like, if not love, some – hopefully all – of the ten shows you see.”
[Image] Greg Wilken and Robert Zenca in A Different Client.
A Different Client plays at King Street Theatre, Newtown, January 30-February 3. Details: www.shortandsweet.org/sydney