Australian comedy legends Tony Nikolakopoulos and George Kapiniaris team up once again to bring you the world premiere of The Life of Byron. Following the success of their national 2-year tour of their previous collaboration, The Last Proxy, the duo, along with writer Sally Faraday, are excited to bring this heartfelt comedy to the stage in Melbourne and Sydney.
Producer, director and writer, Tony Nikolakopoulos, shares his thoughts about the show and beyond:
– what was the inspiration for the show and what is it about this show that you consider to be enduing
The show was initially inspired by the idea of wanting to work on something with George again that was to be a humorous play with truth and pathos and wanted to explore the relationship of the Mother and Son and in this instance in a Greek home. Being a big fan of the original mother and son TV show was also a factor but what we developed in the 7 year development process is a story that is not only about the mother and son but how Byron has failed with all relationships with girls or woman in his life. Be it his wife, girlfriend, relative even daughter.
– how would you describe the show to someone who knew very little about it
It is an exploration of what happens to this man Byron when faced with making a decision as to whether he can agree to signing over the legal documentation that would place his mother into aged care, a home as she has early signs of debenture. As he fights his denial and guilt he enters into a series of flashbacks of his relationship with his mother and other woman in his past to realise he as always blamed his mother and never taken any responsibility in his life. It’s now time that he has to.
– what are some of the themes involved and why are these important
We explore all or many facets of a man and his struggles to connect with woman and in particular his mother. Triggering the narrative is the ageing Greek mother with early signs of denture who’s adult children have now been forced into deciding what is to become of her as they argue and disagree, riddled with guilt and frustration. It is a theme that many are living or are preparing for as we are an ageing population there is this expectancy that as you age you retire and then you eventually are placed in a home. For some this is a welcomed change and for others its like death sentence a feeling that there own family who they’ve suffered for are conveniently discarding them in to a foreign place with strangers and out of their only safe haven their home. We also explore the complexities and short comings of a boy into a man who has no clear and mature understanding of the woman in his life and is always failing an intern blames his mother who was widowed at a very young age, a migrant who left her home as a teenager.
– has the show been modified for Fringe and, if so, why was this something that had to happen and how was it decided what the new show would look like
This is an original production and an independent production, I guess as the director I decided how the play would feel and sound and as writers with George and Sally Faraday we developed the script. Once in rehearsal the actors George and Maria in a collaborative process brought the characters to life and added their influence to the story and language.
– what excites you the most about appearing live – what keeps the fire in the belly burring
Live theatre is the ultimate acting challenge as its all or nothing each time you perform. You are exposed and raw with an audience that energises your every moment it can be equally petrifying yet ultimately exhilarating night after night. To capture your audience in your story as they observe the moments you have created live and raw. You want the audience to be moved and entertained and discuss.
– what sort of artist do you consider yourself – how would you describe yourself as a creative
I am an actor, Director a creator of stories and characters be it for Film or the Theatre, It is an industry that captures my imagination gives me my purpose and fulfils me, well as long as the story is engaging to me. There is nothing more satisfying that working with a great bunch of fellow artist in any capacity if the project is worthwhile and Life Of Byron is that for me and for all of us that are working on it.
– what is next for you
After this show I will look at where it can go next as far as touring. I am also in the process of developing a new TV project and a feature film among other things.
– and finally, what would you say to encourage audiences to attend
I say give new work your support as this is a play that is soul independently created and produced and I believe it to be a humorous yet heart warningly touching story that does question in you as to what is the right thing one should do with their ageing parents. We don’t tell you what is right or what is wrong but will definitely have you thinking and discussing such themes all whilst experiencing moments of Byron’s life.
Filled with laughter and pathos, The Life of Byron is a heart warming exploration of family and the challenges of love, responsibility, and growing up with George Kapiniaris in the role of Byron. The play sees the world through the eyes of one man as he struggles with one of the most important decisions he’ll ever make – and the choices, mistakes and the greatest influence that have brought him to this point.
October 11 – 22