Managing Carmen

It was my privilege to watch a Williamson at The Ensemble, to witness first hand this renowned play-writer’s ability to create slick characters with comic timing and witty repartee, and to watch it be brought to life by a stellar cast. Managing Carmen, a play by David Williamson, explores the perils of personal identity when coming into conflict with the media and stardom. Although this play has a strong sporting context and some dated language, the accessibility of humour, the relevance of social a conscience and powerful performances guarantee a night of entertainment; Williamson deserved his standing ovation he and the players received.  From the page, to the stage, we know Williamson has done something right, when he captivated audiences for the duration of two hours. With the aid of some very potent performers, Williamson held us in the palm of his hand, causing us to roar with laughter, and be gripped by silent tension. Even though I was not the target audience, the infectious laughter of the majority grew on me as the story progressed and we saw characters under pressure, we laughed with them through decisions and we empathised with them through their vulnerabilities. As a vintage Williamson, attending Managing Carmen is a chance to experience first hand the quick wit and polished scenes, especially in par with the adept skills of astute design team; commendations to the theatricality and execution of stage/lighting design. The actors, many faces of whom you’d recognise from popular Australian film and television, captivate the audience and carry them along a very fast-paced story, giving the audience time to laugh, or even involve themselves in ‘ooh’s and ‘aah’s. When I left the show, I listened to the whoops of congratulations to Williamson, as many ladies commented on a night of “fun” and “hilarious entertainment”. As the storyline grew more comical and fantastical, the more intensity the actors showed and The Ensemble has successfully upped the anti once more with a heart-warming piece from an iconic writer.