One to watch

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - FRONT PAGE - Tanya MacNaughton

OLD Mill Theatre will con­tinue its tra­di­tion of pre­sent­ing a Septem­ber sea­son of one-act plays with a pro­gram fea­tur­ing Moby Dick, Widow's Peak and Un­der The Rain­bow.

COARSE theatre is a the­atri­cal style where any­thing in live theatre that could go wrong does go wrong, but the ac­tors con­tinue, be­liev­ing the au­di­ence has not no­ticed.

Old Mill Theatre in South Perth con­tin­ues its tra­di­tion of pre­sent­ing a Septem­ber sea­son of one-act plays with a pro­gram fea­tur­ing lo­cal play­wright Noel O’Neill’s works Widow’s Peak and Un­der The Rain­bow with coarse theatre piece Moby Dick.

Perth ac­tor Chris Thomas stars as Cap­tain Ahab in Michael Green’s adap­ta­tion of Her­man Melville’s novel, di­rected by Como res­i­dent Sarah Christiner.

He said Green had taken the essence of Moby Dick and turned it into a 25-minute com­edy while giv­ing a know­ing wink to the­atri­cal mishaps.

“That’s kind of the joke; it’s as if a theatre com­pany has tried a par­tic­u­larly over-am­bi­tious at­tempt to put the novel on stage, done earnestly and in all se­ri­ous­ness,” Thomas said.

“But of course it’s fraught with dis­as­ter be­cause of the scale of what they’re try­ing to do. Ev­ery­thing that can go wrong ab­so­lutely does; it’s a send-up of theatre. And yet Green man­ages to ac­tu­ally get the main plot points of Moby Dick into his script.”

Thomas, who has acted for 23 years, said ev­ery ac­tor had been in a show where some­one had ei­ther jumped three pages of di­a­logue, re- alised they’ve left a prop back­stage or had a run-in with the set.

“Green’s script ab­sorbs all these calami­ties into one play,” he said.

“Any ac­tor will un­der­stand the strug­gles be­ing faced by the ac­tors in Moby Dick.”

Thomas said he en­joyed play­ing Cap­tain Ahab in this tale of re­venge that had in­spired many other char­ac­ters in sto­ry­telling over the years.

“Plus I get to wear an out­ra­geously fake beard, bad wooden leg and do a pi­rate-like voice,” he said.

“It’s an ob­vi­ous send-up, which ap­peals to my sense of hu­mour.”

Thomas said he hoped au­di­ences en­joyed this year’s “tast­ing plat­ter” of one-act plays.

“The joy of a short play sea­son is that it’s al­ways a mixed bag, like a lucky dip,” he said.

“You get a bit of ev­ery­thing – drama, com­edy and some­times other styles – and they’re all de­liv­ered in nice bite-sized pieces of theatre.”

Chris Thomas as Cap­tain Ahab in Moby Dick.

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