Why Paris in the 1920’s became such a hotbed for artistic talent, is impossible to say for certain. The Lost Generation as it became known was a collection of artist, writers and thinkers that arrived in Paris to continue their work in the shadow of ‘The Great War’. The swell Party is based around this time period in Paris, and the parties of the ‘golden couple’ Gerald and Sara Murphy, who held regular parties in their home, collecting some of the greatest minds of the 20th century in the one place. In this new production, we get to meet Ernest Hemingway, Pablo Picasso, F. Scott Fitzgerald and James Joyce, their wives and love interests and see the what life could have been like during this era!
This piece was written and performed by the graduating class of the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, who have spent a number of years working on this show. In the programme notes the company admit to having taken ‘huge liberties with the time and place’ and do not try to offer a realistic view of the events, but instead piece together a series of vignettes or images of these great characters, loosely based around the events of the time.
This is the first time I’ve seen Smock Alley’s Boy’s School stage operating on two levels, as this production introduced a flight of stairs and raised balcony for the actors to drape themselves over. This is a fun and lively show that focussed on the characters, rather than historic accuracy. The performances are largely impressive and hopefully it will not be the last time WAAPA will visit these shores.
The Swell Party in Smock Alley runs until October 5th.