Francis' book 'How I learnt to act' tells the story of how as an enthusiastic but formally untrained actor, he learnt
to manage the demands of text and character and emotional connection with the character. Along with how to stand on your mark, and read a call sheet, and deal with directors.
Half acting manual, half entertaining tale of the world of professional acting in Australia, this is a book for all actors, whether amateur or professional, novice or veteran, and indeed anyone who has ever wondered what it is that actors actually do.
One of Australia's finest comic actors has generously given us two books for the price of one: a disarmingly frank account of a thespian life and a compendium of practical advice for actors of any age. Sagacity, insight and perceptiveness illuminates every page.
I laughed a lot and I learned even more and Implore anyone interested in a career in acting to please read this book.
Do not embark without it. It is wonderful.
In 2018 the Sydney Theatre Company produced my adaptation of Accidental Death of an Anarchist by Dario Fo.
It ran from Sep 10 to 25 Oct to packed houses and enthusiastic revues.
Sydney Theatre company commissioned me to translate Georges Feydeau's hilarious 'The Girl From Maxim's' by Georges Feydeau.
The Girl: You could be a bit nicer to me you know.
Petypon: For God’s sake, get out!
The Girl: That’s not being nice. I’m being nice to you.
Petypon: restraining himself in an attempt to be nice - Would you mind getting out of my house? (He loses his self control.) For Christ’s sake!!!
The Girl: sitting on the pouffe - In a minute.
Petypon: What? ... No! Get out! Now!
The Girl:– “Get out! Now!” D’you hear that? Listen, Grandpa. You want me to go, you got to be polite.
Petypon: thinking he understands - Ah! All right, then, I’ll be polite. How much? (He gets his wallet out.)
The Girl: What?
Petypon: No beating about the bush. You’re a business woman, You need to be compensated for your ... inconvenience ... How much?
The Girl: You know your problem? No manners at all. If I was a good girl ...
Petypon: Which you’re not.
The Girl: Hey, it doesn’t mean I’m for sale, you know.
Petypon: putting his wallet back in his pocket - No? You’re not? ... Whatever you say ... Right! Nice to meet you. (He shakes her hand.) Perhaps we can catch up sometime.
The Girl: But, a little present, that’s different.
Petypon: Ah! You will take money!
The Girl: Don’t put it like that. What’s your friend gonna think?
Mongicourt: Oh, please! Don’t mind me.
Petypon: getting his wallet out again – Look, it will make me feel better. Really, it will. (He takes out two coins and holds them out to the Girl in the tips of his fingers.) There you are ... forty francs.
The Girl: Forty francs! Are you serious? (She gently pushes Petypon’s hand away.) No, thank you very much.
Petypon: What? Er ...Well I don’t know. It seems a reasonable price.
The Girl: Are you trying to be funny?
Petypon: That’s not enough? It’s what I get. Forty francs for a consultation.
The Girl: Do I look like a doctor? Forty francs! Who the smuckety smuck you think I am anyway?
Mongicourt: amused - Who the smuckety smuck you think I am anyway? Who the smuckety smuck taught you to speak?
The Girl: You making fun of me? You think you’re better than me do you? Bollocks! I can speak just as posh as you. Listen, buster –
‘What a piece of work is man! That is the question.
How noble in reason, full of sound and fury.
Think, when we talk of horses, that you see them.
The handkerchief! The handkerchief!
Mongicourt: The classics. I’m impressed.
The Girl: That’s right, darling. And I can spout tons of the stuff ... You think just because I talk funny I must be from the gutter. But, I’m from a good family, you know. I been to school. I was going to be a teacher only I got took advantage of before the exam. He made me promises and he didn’t keep them, the bastard.
Mongicourt: Oh, that sounds ...
The Girl: He promised he’d sleep with me again.
Petypon: Well, that’s very interesting, but you can tell us your life story another time.
The Girl: I’m telling you so’s you don’t try to give me forty francs.
Petypon: All right! All right! Tell me what you want and lets get it over with.
The Girl: Who the smuckety smuck mentioned money, hey? ... You big gorilla. (She gently pinches his nose.) Yes, you’re a big gorilla, aren’t you?
Petypon: disengaging from her grip - Stop it! That’s enough!
The Girl: Look, you want me to nick off - I’ll nick off.
Petypon: relieved - Thank you!
The Girl: Don’t worry, I get it – if the missus sees me.
The Girl: She’ll stick your head down the crapper.
Petypon: She’ll stick my head down – (Changing tone.) That’s enough. There is absolutely no need for that language!
The Girl: going upstage, followed by Petypon - I’m going ... And since you insist on giving me a little present ... you can pay for my dress. The one I had on yesterday. It’s not paid for. You can buy it for me. (Beat.) That’s all.
Petypon: stupefied - That’s all?
Mongicourt: That’s all! You find it a little excessive?
Petypon: Yes, I do. But I don’t seem to have much choice, do I? (He takes a 100 sou coin out of his wallet.) How much was it?
The Girl: Twenty-five louis.
Petypon: Fi ... Five hundred francs?
The Girl: You just did that in your head, didn’t you? You’re clever! (She pinches his nose again.)
Petypon: angrily, disengaging his nose – Stop it, I said! (He takes five notes from his wallet and gives them one by one to the Girl.) One ... two ... three ... four ... five!
The Girl: securing the last note - Thank you.
Petypon: grabbing her by the wrist - Did I just give you two then?
The Girl: disengaging - No, you did not.
Petypon: going upstage and indicating the door - Good. Right. Hop it!