The Wolves Theatre Company and Regional Arts Victoria Present
The Magnolia Tree
Starring Tottie Goldsmith Rohana Hayes Ezra Bix
Written by Michael Gray Griffith
This play is now over 20 years old. Originally called 'The Electric Bed,' it was my first play, but even though it did well, it was far shorter and i always felt there was a longer play wanting to get out. That is this one.
Why 'The Magnolia Tree?'
In the family's front yard is a Magnolia Tree. It was/is mum's favorite.
In the play we use it as a metaphor for mum.
In it is a single Cicada that could never find even if they went looking,
this we use to represent her Alzheimers.
My first theatre experience was when I joined St Martins Youth Arts Centre at age 16 and although my career headed in the direction of predominantly TV and music, I’ve always held a curiosity and longing for live theatre. Over the years I attended more and more acting workshops to get a better feel and understanding of the craft, which thankfully, for a curious mind is never ending. As the saying goes, ‘be the energy you want to attract’ which led me to Michael Gray Griffith via LinkedIn. I love his writing, his daring and humour and the tribe he and his partner Rohana Hayes have created. I feel very at home with this crazy pack of Wolves.
Since graduating from NIDA, Ezra has worked in Australia, England, America and Asia with companies such as IMG International, the Melbourne Theatre Company and Malthouse. He will feature this year in the upcoming Netflix drama series Clickbait, starring Adrian Grenier. Recently he finished a tour of Brisbane and Adelaide in North by Northwest starring Matt Day. He has also toured Australia with Yes, Prime Minister starring Philip Quast, The Club starring John Wood and The Last Confession starring David Suchet, which also toured the U.S. and Canada. He played General Sir John Monash in Monash in Love and War by Andrew Joseph at Chapel Off Chapel. Other recent theatre roles include Captain Tommy Fraser in The Toorak Rules, Sir Huw Evans in The Merry Wives of Windsor, 45 Downstairs, Dr Faustus in Wittenberg, Red Stitch and Toby in Pr!ck - The Musical, Athenaeum Theatre. He is a founding member of The Wolves Theatre Company and has toured with The Magnolia Tree periodically over the last few years in Victoria and NSW.
Post school I started with dance in London and soon discovered I wanted to speak not only with my body but with words and so I ventured into theatre. Sick of the cold of England I moved to Australia 20 years ago and in the last 3 years along with Michael we set up The Wolves and I have been working as a Producer, and actor creating gutsy, challenging and exciting theatre and working with a team of inspiring, determined and incredibly talented actors. I have performed in the Magnolia Tree a few times before and absolutely love the energy and passion of Tottie and Ezra and what they are bringing to this version.
The Wolves Theatre company was set up to show that mature artists can be original, pertinent, and viable.
We only produce new Australian Theatre, and if it wasn’t for Covid we would have had four new plays touring. But despite Covid we are now back on the road with two plays, Marooned and The Magnolia Tree, with two more plays due soon.
And let me make it clear, we are NOT after your support like a charity. Instead we are wanting to entertain you with our particular brand of theatre.
Our plays are aimed predominantly at the 45 plus demographic, which is our demographic, we never preach, we don’t do "jokes" although the plays are all full of humour, and we don’t force feed you. We instead attempt to tell you a story that will move you so deeply that you will have an experience great enough that you will come back to see our other shows and tell your friends as well.
This simple philosophy has worked so well that we now pay all our actors award wages and the company is self-sufficient. We will never say no to a grant but we can survive without them.
We are dependent instead on audiences. You are our bread and butter. You have allowed us to become a repertory company.
The Magnolia Tree was written and is performed to shake you up.
Its basic premise, can one man, a salesman, talk his sisters into committing a murder, in real time. And to see if he can do it, instead of me, the writer deciding, the audience votes, at a crucial moment, for one of two ends; To be, or not to be.
And to our great surprise 48% of the time, and the play has been on around 45 times, the audience votes for Not to Be.
I hope you can make it, if you do we will try our utmost not to disappoint you.
Michael Gray Griffith
Playwright and Co-founder of The Wolves Theatre Company
We were told when we pitched the idea to a major theatre that you don't write plays for men, because men don't care.
Well we wrote it anyway, and its working.
"A play about suicide that needs to be seen"
Michael Gray Griffith wrote Marooned in the days following the loss of a close friend and colleague to suicide. It comes from a dark place and deals with dark feelings. But that does not make it a dark play. On the contrary.
~Harriet Cunningham ~Sydney Morning Herald
Herald Sun Kate Herbert 3 Stars
Level 1, 135 Fitzroy Street Boulevard
St Kilda, MELBOURNE
28 May 7.30 pm. Doors open 7pm.
The Launceston and Brisbane and the UK in October