There’s magic in memories
KATE Betcher has a clear memory of the moment she felt her childhood slipping away: when a friend told her they were too old to play with dolls.
The 25-year-old actor is revisiting that emotion in playwright Finegan Kruckemeyer’s stage adaptation of children’s book Magic Beach by Alison Lester, which has taken the liberty of developing the popular beach-themed picture book into a relatable storyline.
“The play itself is about the oldest child Sally, who I play, coming to terms with her childhood ending,” Betcher said.
“She’s leaving for the same holiday her family takes every year, where they do the same things like building sandcastles, playing in the rock pool and building a bonfire.
“But this time Sally feels trepidation about it because she doesn’t know if she’s still allowed to do all those things with her younger brother and sister or whether she’s too old for that now. It’s a really sad thing to feel like you’re losing your imagination.
“We’ve had some tears from adults in the audience either because they
remember what that feels like or because they have a kid that age who is turning away from being a child.”
Betcher said fans of the book would recognise the illustrations brought to life on stage by designer Isla Shaw, including the distinctive headwear of a watermelon-shaped hat.
“I would say the most magical thing about the book is the illustrations,” Sydney-based Betcher said.
“It’s one of those books where you can just look at the pictures and take so much in. We’ve tried to be as true to the illustrations as possible.”
Betcher, who graduated from WAAPA in 2016, and her cast mates Jade Fuda and Alex Packard will do two weeks of hotel quarantine before presenting a season of the CDP Theatre production, for children aged three to eight, at Heath Ledger Theatre, October 7 to 11.
It will be the first time she has returned to Perth since finishing her studies.
“It (hotel quarantine) wasn’t part of the contract that I signed but it’s a small price to pay to be able to do the tour,” she said.
“How I escaped not losing my job, I do not know, but I’m very grateful for it.
“I was in Perth for three years and somehow never went to Rottnest Island. We have a day off at the end of the Perth season and I’ve already told the others we’re going to get some quokka selfies.”
Magic Beach is at Heath Ledger Theatre, October 7 to 11. Tickets at ptt.wa.gov.au.
Jade Fuda, Alex Packard and Kate Betcher in Magic Beach.