Raimondo Cortese graduated from VCA School of Drama in 1993. He was a founding member of Ranters Theatre, serving as Artistic Director from 1994 - 2001. Ranters have been regularly programmed in international performing arts festivals and venues since 1999, including developments and residencies.
He has written over thirty plays and texts for theatre, which have been performed in over a dozen countries, including Features of Blown Youth, Roulette, St Kilda Tales, The Wall and The Silence. His more recent works are, Holiday, which won a 2007 Green Room Award for Best Australian Writing, The Child for MTC and Intimacy, which premiered at the Malthouse Theatre for the 2010 Melbourne International Festival of the Arts. He was the recipient of a 2010 Australian Leadership Award, and was awarded the inaugural Patrick White Fellowship by the STC in 2011.
His most recent work was Buried City, an Urban Theatre Projects, Belvoir St, 2012 Sydney Festival co-production and Murder, for Erth and the 2013 Sydney and Adelaide Festivals and Ten Days on the Island. He has also written for film (The Boy Castaways), television and radio, as well as visual and experimental texts. His fiction includes a collection of short stories - The Indestructible Corpse (Text Publishing 1998). He teaches script writing master classes both here and overseas, and lectures in Master of Writing for Performance in Theatre, VCA School of Performing Arts, Melbourne University.
Raimondo is a founding and ongoing member of Ranters Theatre. Please click here to visit the Official Site for the Ranters Theatre.
Based on a Chinese cosmology called the 12 Themes of Life, Roulette is a series of 12 x 30 -50 minute 2 hand, 1 act plays. Ranters premiered 8 of the 12 pieces at the 2000 Adelaide Festival and as part of the 2001 Belvoir Street Theatre subscription season before touring to Europe. The approximate total running time is 7 hours without interval.
All the plays are set in different locations throughout a city. The plays do not have overlapping characters or storylines, but are linked through contemporaneity and juxtaposition.
Technical requirements for Roulette are minimal: an intimate performance space, basic props and an uncluttered lighting design.
(1) Inconsolable (Desire) – A man sitting in a café is approached by a woman who may offer him everything he has been looking for.
(2) Borneo (Travel) – Two women meet on a plane, and examine their recent holidays and their lives. The relationship turns on its head as the younger woman provides the older with a fresh look on life, with a twist in the ending
(3) Petroleum (Misfortune) – An older businessman confronts a young petrol station worker after a bad night. Whilst waiting for the mechanic to repair his crashed car and uneasy trust emerges.
(4) Legacy (Self-expression) – A young street seller encounters a building worker. They share some time and a joint, leading to a re-examination of the important things in their lives.
(5) Fortune (Marriage, inheritance) – A prodigal son returns home after his mothers death and meets her new partner. The power between them shifts through the piece, until tension reaches dangerous levels.
(6) Night (Career, responsibility) – Two young women meet in a night club, and proceed to get drunk.
(7) Sickness (Health) – Concerns the visit of a priest to a terminally ill man.
(8) Hotel (Class, rank) – two hotel cleaners discuss their lives and work, leading to an ugly confrontation.
(9) Break-In (authority) – Concerns the relationship between two young homeless heroin addicts, where a perverse power play underscores their vulnerability.
(10) Sisters (Business) – Two sisters in an office of a mobile phone company. The sibling rivalry eventually explodes to the surface via an exploration of the desire to sell at any cost.
(11) Innocence (Children/parents) - Set in a park, a relationship develops between an estranged biological father and his daughter. While the daughter appears to have resolved her feelings, the father longs to have a closer relationship with her.
(12) Friendship (Friendship) - Two old friends get together over a few bottles of wine as their friendship over many years comes under scrutiny. They end up realising that they have kept the most important things hidden from each other.
The themes of Roulette are designed to cover a very wide range of human endeavour and experience. The plays are developed thematically as follows:
Desire - female 20s, male 30s
Travel - female 40s, female 20s
Misfortune - male 40s, male 20s
Self-expression - female 20s, male 50s
Marriage, inheritance - male 50s, male 20s
Career, responsibilities - female 30s, female 20s
Health - male 30s, male 40s
Class, rank - female 30s, female 20s
A topical and confronting visit to the home of several disaffected twentysomethings, somewhere in urban Australia. There’s Dove, sometime drug user and oftentimes stripper; Isabella, finishing her economics degree and dreaming of her imminent escape to Europe; Existentialist Nihilist Maoist (this week) Oron, looking for the meaning of life rather than for a job; gentle and philosophical Harriet, an aspiring writer who’s got the keen for Oron; and Guido, battling with his own demons of inadequacy, personal impotency and machismo. Passing through are Rot, a callow 18-year-old skinhead who Dove picked up at the strip club, and Syv, Guido’s sexually uninhibited and experimental girlfriend. Then there’s the appearance of slimy ex-con Alexander Strawberry, the new landlord, whose prurient intentions for the house and its occupants certainly aren’t friendly. A devastating social commentary on the bleakness faced by young people in urban Australia.
full length play, rated R
St Kilda Tales was inspired by real people who live around the vibrant suburb of St Kilda in Melbourne, where the writer and various members of Ranters Theatre have lived for a number of years. But while the St Kilda milieu inspires the production, St Kilda Tales is not an attempt to represent St Kilda on the stage; in fact St Kilda’s heterogeneous community is the springboard into a contemporary urban ritual.
The project is entirely non-representational, and utilises the anarchic energy of the performers in an organic framework to explore and celebrate the complex diversity of urban life. St Kilda Tales strips away literary excesses, theatrical conventions and technical distractions to create a unique experience for the audience.
The Ranters Theatre production of St Kilda Tales used:
The Room is a play for one actor which unfolds within the claustrophobic dimensions of a room, surrounded on all sides by a projected landscape of the man in the room’s eerie imaginings. The man interacts with various ‘ghosts’ from his past and ritualizes his obsessions with the few remaining objects left at his disposal. His situation becomes increasingly more bizarre until he is engulfed by madness.
The play is non-naturalistic. It is a metaphysical journey into the central characters soul. Meaning slowly disintegrates, rationality slowly crumbles, past and present are fused into a continuous verbal monologue.
Have you ever looked deeply into the eyes of your obsession and sworn you would do anything to possess it? Bob and Insatiable stand before a great shiny object of desire for which they will do or sacrifice anything.
A vignette in which a man and a woman meet in a park and their idle small-talk belies a mysterious relationship and sublimated attraction. The play uses contemporary urban surrealism to convey a sense of disjointedness, and there’s a nod to absurdism in its dialogue.
The wall celebrates a place where people meet. Within a single act in real-time, a multitude of mini events and relationships arise, collide, fester, explode and dissolve.
Ranters/Chapter Arts Centre
Affection, gently searches the connections between a husband and wife and a complete stranger. Freely traversing the abstract and the ordinary, Affection, looks at the way people empathise and nurture, reject, help, and play with each other.
Ranters malthous et al - Currency Press
Holiday is an eclectic mixture of baroque song, video installation and gentle conversation between two male performers that traverses the personal and sometimes intimate details of their lives. It contemplates the world as a place where we can no longer cope with large occurrences and succeed only in retreating further into our own private spaces.
Intimacy begins with a man stepping out of his apartment into the chaos of a busy night. His aim is nothing more than to speak to strangers, to meet new people, to flirt with the simple differences that any urban street may offer up.
2 males 1 female
Two middle-aged women talk in a room. One is recently returned. One has always been there. Between them sits their past. The Dream Life of Butterflies is a beautiful dissertation on the illusion of memory and the impossibility of retrieving what has been lost. In a seamless single scene, award-winning writer Raimondo Cortese exposes their delusions about themselves and each other, hinting at the terrible taboo at the heart of their relationship.
Belvoir Street Theatre/Urban Theatre Projects
Late one night in the gutted façade of a building primed for redevelopment, a group of security workers, labourers, and a local teenager find themselves haunting the same territory. One by one they rule a line in the sand, and by dawn they’re set for a showdown over who builds the future and who gets to own it. Buried City is an ambitious play about ever-changing cities where waves of immigrants make new lives on old land.
The most notorious anti-hero to storm a stage, Macheath – or Mack The Knife as he’s known on the streets – is the original city crim who’s never met a law, a woman or a cop he couldn’t break. That is until he challenges the supremacy of the Beggar King Peachum and his empire of manufactured woes. With Peachum and cunning cop Tiger Brown on his case the last thing Mack needs is a couple of molls competing for ownership of him. But when it comes to the ladies, this Lothario throws caution to the wind and leaps in head first. Even with two wives and a warrant out for him, Mac will always make time for a jaunt to the whore house. But he’d better watch out… as all smart philanderers know, hell hath no fury like a woman scorned!
Married life is a killer. In this remarkable bilingual version, the lush lyricism of Federico García Lorca’s writing is wedded to a contemporary sensibility utterly of the now. Devastating romance, a clash between desire and tradition, a rich paean to the Spanish soil and its culture of passion and ritual — Lorca’s tour de force is all of these things.