(L-R) Xavier Coy, Michael Lucas, Mithila Gupta, script coordinator Alisha Hnatjuk and Christine Bartlett.
Michael Lucas, who co-created Network 10’s Five Bedrooms with Christine Bartlett, reached out to emerging writer Xavier Coy last year after reading Coy’s play Not Even God Can Save Us.
Coy wrote the play while he was studying at the Actors Centre Australia. Lucas invited the Sydney-based Coy to go to Melbourne for note-taking at the end of the first season of Hoodlum Entertainment’s relationships dramedy.
The result: The producers hired Coy to write an episode of the second season, his first TV credit, alongside Lucas, Bartlett and Mithila Gupta.
Lucas was given a copy of the play, an upper-class satire set a reception after a church service, by his husband, director Adrian Chiarella, with whom Coy is collaborating on a short film, Slippery Slope.
“I read Xavier’s play when I was on holiday in Turkey,” Lucas tells IF. “His voice seemed so perfect for our characters, I kept taking pictures of the dialogue and texting them to my co-writer Christine.
“Xavier was writing both working class tradies and highly-strung, middle-class professionals with great authenticity and with the exact measure of humour and heart we aim for with Five Bedrooms. We knew he’d be a great match and felt really confident to progress him quickly from note-taking to writing.”
Set in one day at a skate park, Slippery Slope centres on a man and woman who are close and whose relationship changes.
Coy is trying to find a home for the play. The prolific writer and actor has written five plays including Buried and Are You Listening Now?, both staged at the Old 505 Theatre in Newtown.
His sixth, Distorted, which follows 10 people who are trying to find healthy connections, opens at that venue on March 10. Lex Marinos heads the cast and Richard Hilliar directs.
He’s written the bibles and pilots for two TV series and is yet to pitch them to broadcasters. Avoiding Paralysis is a black comedy which follows a wannabe writer who has a mental breakdown while Getting Over Gary is the tale of two siblings who are grieving the death of the father they didn’t particularly like.
In addition, he’s written the feature scripts for Grief Is An Ugly Colour On You, a comedy about a family in turmoil set at a funeral and the wake, and Changing Tides, a drama set in a coastal town.
Summing up his career to date, he says: “Everything is moving in the right direction. I am very grateful to Michael and Christine for the opportunity they gave me on Five Bedrooms. Dealing with that sort of people on a show like that makes me feel optimistic I can make a career out of it.”
Coy has performed in all his plays and in a few ads, which helped pay the bills, and is keen to pursue acting.