Com­ing of age in Coma Land

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Health -

THERE may be some ac­tors who ex­pe­ri­ence anx­i­ety from not be­ing based in one par­tic­u­lar city but WAAPA grad­u­ate Kirsty Mar­il­lier prefers to be fluid, go­ing wher­ever the work takes her.

But Perth will al­ways be home af­ter her fam­ily moved from South Africa to Aus­tralia when she was 10 years old.

Stay­ing with her par­ents was only one fac­tor that brought Mar­il­lier back to Perth for the sea­son of Black Swan State Theatre Com­pany’s Coma Land.

“Will O’ma­hony (writer and director) was a big call­ing card be­cause I’ve al­ways ad­mired his work and had heard he could be gen­tle, em­pa­thetic and un­der­stand­ing to the ac­tor’s process,” the 26-year-old said.

“I found the script in­cred­i­bly com­pelling with a lot of heart and I’m more in­ter­ested in new Aus­tralian work, as a lot of young artists are, be­cause I think it’s im­por­tant that we cul­ti­vate work in this coun­try.

“And there was also the op­por­tu­nity to work with Black Swan.

“I’ve been see­ing shows pre­sented by this theatre com­pany for a long time now and it was sort of one of those goals I had as a teenager.”

Mar­il­lier said the play was set in a world be­tween life and death called ‘Coma Land’ where her char­ac­ter Boon wakes up to meet a young girl, Pen­guin, and they travel on a jour­ney to­gether while meet­ing other char­ac­ters along the way.

The sur­re­al­ist piece is an ex­am­i­na­tion of re­la­tion­ships, par­tic­u­larly be­tween fa­thers and daugh­ters.

“It’s in­ter­est­ing be­cause it works on two planes; on this al­ter­nate uni­verse but you’re also com­pelled to think about these peo­ple in their ac­tual lives as well,” she said.

“It’s about ac­cep­tance and un­con­di­tional love; it ap­proaches very big ideas in an in­di­vid­ual way. I think it will be a play where peo­ple dis­cuss what they think it means and it could po­ten­tially cause quite a bit of de­bate. I think all good theatre should do that.”

Mar­il­lier said she found child ge­nius and mu­si­cal prodigy Boon a fas­ci­nat­ing char­ac­ter to play.

“She has been play­ing Mozart since the age of two and has an in­cred­i­bly com­plex re­la­tion­ship with her par­ents as a re­sult of this gift she’s been given,” she said.

“The play ex­plores what it is to have a gift like this and how peo­ple treat you, and how you treat it as well.

“In some ways it’s a com­ing-of-age story but in a kind of unique way.”

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