There’s magic in mem­o­ries

Fremantle Gazette - - STAGE - Tanya MacNaughto­n

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.

Pic­ture: James D Mor­gan

Jade Fuda, Alex Packard and Kate Betcher in Magic Beach.

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