Coming of age in Coma Land
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.”