De­but lead packs a power punch

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Theatre - Tanya Macnaughton

PERTH-born Clarence Ryan told his mum he wanted to be an ac­tor when he was 10 years old.

“For­tu­nately she sup­ported me in that and took me to act­ing classes and ba­si­cally gave me the strength I needed,” Ryan said.

Had it been the era when Ge­of­frey ‘Barker Bull­dog’ Narkle was the same age, Ryan’s story would be very dif­fer­ent.

Narkle was part of the Stolen Gen­er­a­tion, re­moved from his fam­ily and raised on Wan­der­ing Mis­sion be­fore trav­el­ling the South-West as a tent boxer with Ste­wart’s Box­ing Troupe dur­ing the ’60s.

Narkle and David Mil­roy col­lab­o­rated to write Yirra Yaakin The­atre Company’s 1997 pro­duc­tion KingHit, in­spired by Narkle’s jour- ney, re­mounted this month with Ryan ( Lockie Leonard, Septem­ber) mak­ing his the­atre de­but in the lead role.

“Ge­of­frey was around for the 1997 play but has since passed away,” 22-year-old Ryan said.

“It would have been lovely to meet him be­cause I’ve been told he was a sweet man in his later years, very much into God and he’d put all his anger be­hind him; he had no more time for that.

“He had a very hard life and I think it’s great that they made it into a play and hope­fully one day will adapt it into a fea­ture film.”

Ryan said study­ing about the Stolen Gen­er­a­tion was far dif­fer­ent to ex­pe­ri­enc­ing it and this en­core sea­son of King Hit, di­rected by Kyle J Mor­ri­son, was testa- ment to Narkle’s amaz­ing story.

“It builds up through his life to when he is in old age after ev­ery­one has passed away and he’s left alone telling his story,” Ryan said.

“He’s been too sad for too long and just wants to be happy. I love that some­one can have that men­tal­ity after all those years, es­pe­cially those teenage years when you want your fa­ther and mother there, and he never had those.”

Pic­ture: Mar­cus Whisson­mu­ni­ d425138

Clarence Ryan will star as Ge­of­frey ‘Barker Bull­dog’ Narkle in Yirra Yaakin The­atre Company’s King Hit.

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