Western Suburbs Weekly - - Weekly Life - Tanya MacNaughton

AC­TOR and pup­peteer St John Cowcher did not quite know what to ex­pect when cast as ‘Other’ in Black Swan State Theatre Com­pany’s The Red Bal­loon.

“Ben Mort­ley is play­ing the Rat, Sarah Nel­son is play­ing the Cat and Ella Hether­ing­ton is play­ing Pi­geon,” Cowcher said.

“I soon found out ‘Other’ meant I was play­ing a se­ries of char­ac­ters; the most prom­i­nent are the Head­mas­ter, who is quite an up­tight, rule and time-ob­sessed man, and then the Grand­mother, who is a battleaxe of a woman. It’s a lot of fun play­ing var­i­ous char­ac­ters be­cause it means I get to play with phys­i­cal­ity and bring in some com­edy, and then I get to be a pup­peteer as well, so it’s the best of both worlds.”

The Red Bal­loon is based on the book and 1956 Academy Award-win­ning short film of the same name, adapted by Hi­lary Bell as con­ceived by emerg­ing artist In­dia Me­hta.

Chrissie Par­rott is di­rect­ing the 45-minute new Aus­tralian work, which is the com­pany’s first fam­ily pro­duc­tion cre­ated for chil­dren six to 12 years and part of the 2015 AWE­SOME In­ter­na­tional Arts Fes­ti­val for Bright Young Things pro­gram.

“It’s a beau­ti­ful story about find­ing light­ness when there’s not nec­es­sar­ily light­ness there,” Cowcher said.

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie­mu­ni­ d443713

Bal­lon play­ers: (Clock­wise from bot­tom left) Ella Hether­ing­ton, St John Cowcher, Sarah Nel­son and Ben Mort­ley.

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