‘Mine’ is a brand new play by the much-admired playwright, Jane Bodie. Jane is also current head of the postgraduate, playwriting course at NIDA. She is a past winner of the Victorian Premier's Award for ‘Best Play’.
The Western Australian Youth Theatre Company, which was formed in 1990, has been the gateway for thousands of young Western Australians to learn what life in the theatre is all about.
This wonderful play is being presented at the Subiaco Arts Centre Studio, 180 Hamersley Road, Subiaco, with the hour and three-quarter shows on Wednesday to Saturday nights at 7.30 pm, until 16th June.
The set is a simple grey stage, with a backdrop of a massive floor to ceiling mirror, three metres high by 7 metres long. There are ten cream chairs and a large, empty wooden table. Timpanis thunder and heavy rock music fills the air (composer and sound designer Alex Brittan), and the delicate strains of Emily Cribb’s singing adds to the atmosphere.
The time is about ten years hence. Out of the evening mist comes a young girl dragging her suitcase, Hilary (Lucy Clements) is the first to arrive at this bland establishment. As the self-assured young woman is looking around, another smiling timid girl, Elizabeth (Sofie O’Mara) arrives quickly followed by an even quieter and shyer girl, the wan Mary (Caitlin Thompson). Very little is said between the group until the slightly punkish Anne (Mary Soudi) arrives and announces that if things do not go right she will be off in an instant.
Where is this strange, characterless building?
The door flies open and in marches a foul-mouthed, Glaswegian ‘hairy’, Victoria. The hilarious wee nyaff (Robyn McMillan) says the place reminds her of ‘a stinkin’ f*in airport’. Following her through the door is heartthrob - in his own mind - Lincoln (Monte Sallur) who immediately hits a raw nerve with Victoria.
Gradually the room fills up and the group gather around the table. It seems that they have answered an advert to be in this ‘Big Brother-like house’. Just as in Agatha Christie’s ‘Ten Little Indians’ they are not too sure why they are there, or who is responsible for the situation. It seems that many, like Julius (Tim Wingfield) are highly intelligent computer experts; then again, at the other end of the scale are the wee nyaff, and a South African, William (Danen Engelenburg) who has many hang-ups. There is also the quiet, caring George (Patrick Harvey) and the highly-strung, withdrawn Charles (Murphy Voight) who really does not want to be there!
We join a business meeting of the astute accountant, Edwin (Zachary Drieberg) and the person in charge, Sondra (Emily Cribb), who is typical of so very many, self-opinionated civil servants that are promoted above their knowledge because they can ‘talk the jargon’.
Two new potential investors (Lucy Westbrook and Scott Corbett) arrive to talk to Sondra. Meanwhile, two more housemates (Crystal Della Posta, Campbell Greenock) arrive at ‘the house’.
Where is this establishment? Moreover, what is taking place?
Director, Renato Fabretti was a Curtin and WAAPA acting graduate before going to NIDA to specialise in directing. Here, Curtin graduate Verity Softly assists him. The direction of these 16 young actors is first class, and they have taken on board the obviously high demands that have been made. This wonderful story, full of intrigue has been developed beautifully a great depth given to the rich and fascinating characters.
Considering the age group, that ranges from 15 to 21 year olds, the chemistry is excellent and the rapport solid. Without exception, the youngsters have totally captured the very different personalities. There is a great deal of humour along with several points of tension and conflict, all of which flow naturally.
The lighting (Glyn McNamara) was well considered and added greatly to the aura - operation was by Grace Benn, who also stage-managed. Production manager was Paige Devine. Make-up artist (Kate Anderson) developed the trendy eyebrow shape and colour for ‘the era’.
I can thoroughly recommend this production to all young potential actors, and to many community actors who are searching for tips and ways to enhance their acting skills. This show is only on for a short while, so try to catch it.
Clever story writing, brilliant dialogue and first class acting.
Details: A Dark Horror Comedy presented by Phoenix Theatre Inc and supported by Dark Psychic Productions.