City Diggers Club Wollongong
ONE NIGHT ONLY
Friday 11th December
University Team: Alexander Cuff (captain), Arthur Tamer, Sam Sweeting and Dave Barranquero
The team of current students from University of Wollongong’s School of Creative Arts are fielding possibly the strongest team in University’s Playmates history. University has fielded a team in all ten Playmates to date and despite a Grand Final appearance in 2013 and leading the way for most of last year’s showcase, University are still chasing their first Playmates trophy. But with three returning cast members and the addition of the very talented Dave Barranquero, the University team are the team that may be the bookies’ favourite to take the Golden Gong trophy from The Drama Studio.
Returning for his second Playmates as University team captain is Alexander Cuff, who specialises as a comedic actor and has been expanding himself of recent times in more dramatic pieces of theatre. His first main role was Basil Fawlty, which Alexander claims that wasn’t just because he had the right body type for John Cleese. He recently starred in Doctor’s Orders in Black Box Theatre’s 24 Hour Theatre Project (along with SPAT team member Bradley Ward and last year’s Grand Final winner Mathew Latham) which was selected out of a strong selection of productions to form Black Box Theatre’s submission into Short+Sweet Sydney which will be performed mid-January. Alexander is also an experienced playwright and theatre director.
Having performed in last year’s Playmates, Alexander can confidently say that he is looking forward to the entire process of Playmates and can’t wait to perform in front of a healthy crowd on Friday night.
“You get such a rush when you’re on stage and you don’t have a clue what to do, but you just do what comes naturally and it works. It’s the best feeling ever. I have spent the entire year watching clips from last year’s Playmates in anticipation for this year!”
When probed who he think has a chance on taking out the Playmates trophy this year, Alexander finds it difficult to pick any of the teams as a clear favourite.
“Mathematically, every team has some chance of winning. What it all comes down to in the end is which team gives the biggest ‘donation’ to the judges.”
Making his Playmates debut is the very talented Dave Barranquero who has had a passion for acting since he was a little boy. Since then it has developed into a hunger to perform. Training wise, Dave attended classes at the Thirroul Academy for Music Dance and Drama throughout primary school as well as 2 years of classes at The Drama Studio at the IPAC (2010 – 2012). He has currently finished his second year at the University of Wollongong doing a Bachelor of Performance (2014 – present).
Dave has performed in many productions in the Illawarra community theatre scene, including The Phantom of the Opera (2014) with the Arcadians and, most recently, Macbeth (2015) at the Phoenix Theatre.
“I love getting up on stage and giving my all no matter the task at hand. I am thoroughly pumped and honestly a little nervous for my first Playmates. In saying that, I am very confident in the strong team that the university has created. I watched from the audience last year and I said to myself “Right, I have to try this!”. And so this year I am fulfilling that dream.”
After showing no fear in the Playmates Training Day, Dave has taken a liking to the music and singing games that Playmates has to offer.
“We have all been drinking our egg whites and practising our scales. We’ve pretty much become a Barbershop Quartet. So although many teams struggle with musical improv, we will be harmoniously strong.”
“With improvisation you never know what to expect, but you can guarantee hilarious results no matter what the actors come up with.”
Returning for his second Playmates is young actor Sam Sweeting – currently studying theatre performance at University. Sam played one of the lead roles in Dire Theatre’s Our Neighbourhood at Wollongong Workshop Theatre, then again at Sydney Fringe.
Most recently he was in the Phoenix’s Alice Through a Looking Glass Darkly.
Sam is a young man of few words, but does not struggle at all to get his message across. Sam’s confidence in his University team is clear.
“We will crush all opposition and grind them into the dirt.”
Playmates producer Luke Berman who interviewed Sam attempted to get the young actor to talk.
Luke: Are you excited? Nervous?
Luke: Haha, love it. So, what are you looking forward to in Playmates?
Sam: Laughing at just about everything that happens.
Luke: Are there any games you hope you don’t get?
Sam: No, we’ll make the best of what we get.
Luke: Did you enjoy Playmates last year?
Sam: Yeah, it was great fun.
Luke: So, if your life were a book, what it would it be called?
Sam: “Lower Your Standards”
Luke: Haha that’s a good one.
Luke: Thanks Sam.
Also returning to Playmates after a strong contribution to last year’s University team is shot-gun talent Arthur Tamer, who has, surprisingly, only recently starting pursuing his dreams as an actor and has burst on to the Illawarra theatre scene and has been in very high demand. A current student at UOW’s School of Creative Arts, Arthur has also been nine other productions including playing Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Our Lord and Saviour Jesus in Reefer Madness, Macbeth in… well, Macbeth, and just recently the Cheshire Cat in Alice at the Pheonix Theatre.
Arthur has done a lot of community theatre and has also worked professionally with a strong preference towards physicality and focus’ strongly on fully embracing the “embodiment of text”. He is also in “Lukedad’s fabulous Black Box Devised Ensemble, so watch this space next year. Ya hear?”
Arthur is looking forward to all the random things that happen on stage in Playmates.
“You think a scene is going to go one way, but then you get a completely different offer from your team-mate, and then all of a sudden you’re a cartel dealing alligator. But most of all I’m looking forward to working with the entire group this year – across all teams really feels like we’re just one big team. There’s no sense of competing against each-other (despite what Adam Armitt may say), rather we’re just performing with each-other, and I love that atmosphere.”
When asked who he think will take the Playmates Trophy to their home theatre foyer, Arthur thinks the time has come for the Stand-Up comedians to take home the gold.
“I think Wollongong Comedy has a decent run for it this year, so I’d be watching out for them. Although I think Roo Theatre is the dark horse and might surprise us pleasantly.”