‘Earth’, the first in the trilogy ‘Earth, wind and fire’ was devised, written and directed by WA’s Jeffrey Jay Fowler. The show has been brought to life by the WA Youth Theatre Company in conjunction with the City of Perth, at The Blue Room Theatre, James Street, Northbridge. Performances until Saturday 10th December with all shows 8.30 pm.
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A group of actors run onto the stage, wearing their bright red, nylon tracksuits. Then, in a wonderful example of synchronicity, they explain how they are about to perform a play about ‘the earth’. They look eagerly for the audience’s reaction, and then the facial enthusiasm is seen to fade as they realise that the punters are staring blankly back, waiting to be entertained.
The play starts by relating the feedback they get from friends and family in relation to their being actors.
A young actress (Siobhan Crabb) steps forward and talks about the performance that she has just finished. Her well-meaning mother (Megan Hollier) sympathetically pats her on the shoulder and says ‘At least you tried’, and then goes on to remind the poor girl how her successful friend has become ‘an accountant’. Her father (Iskandar Sharazuddin) is far more supportive, perhaps too much so!
A friend (Thomas James Vowles) finds the whole acting scene extremely stressful and suffers a nervous breakdown.
On his way home from a party, a young man (Cody Fern) is worried about the safety of a girl (Lauren Lloyd Williams) walking the streets in the dark, and offers her a lift in his car. This is a move he rapidly regrets. She turns out to be a vegan, tree hugging, women’s lib supporter and staunch supporter of another half dozen causes that she is determined to stand-up for, even if no one asks. Another girl (Alex Malone) at the party describes her sexual fantasy with a gorgeous man (Liam Graham), but is he gay?
The play goes on to point out the horrendous self-interest of the world’s ‘powerful’ and their incredible ability to ignore the suffering of the people, animals and vegetation of the fragile planet. Jeffrey Jay’s writing is outstanding, as he gets straight to the roots of the problems showing the hypocrisy of the general population.
Jeffery Jay is renowned for his inventiveness. A few months ago, his production that dealt with the various kinds of drinks was totally novel, and went on to win an award. Now we have another great idea. The eight performers have been gathering and probing their alter egos for months, to produce this collection of teenage outlooks. There is a great deal of humour, blended with an acerbic message. The topics and language may not be to your grandmother’s liking, but the dialogue is true to life and filled with interest. There are literally dozens of sensitive subjects discussed.
With the help of assistant director Isabella Moore, Jeffery Jay has produced a slick, fast moving 80-minute production. The pace galloped along as the team, in turn, related their own monologues.
Lighting designer, Glyn McNamara has produced a design that at first glances is quite simple, but is in fact complex. For example, whilst talking about a shopping centre, the girl walks outside and there was a subtle increase in the brightness level coupled with a colour temperature change as the indoor fluoros went and the sun took over. The production manager, Emily Stokoe, has carried through the theme of the world being born equal, by having identical props and costumes for the cast.
If any one runs an acting school, or wishes to teach actors about character study, demonstrate different moods and conquer clever timing, this is a brilliant piece to use in the training.
Another quality, innovative piece of writing, congratulation Jeffrey you have done it again.
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