A FAMILY connection has led to the production of a classic play by Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen at Melville Theatre.
Belvoir St Theatre artistic director Eamon Flack adapted Ibsen’s Ghosts for a 2017 Sydney production – and now his second cousin Thomas Dimmick is directing the show in Perth.
Regarded as a scathing commentary on 19th-century morality, Ghosts is the story of Helene Alving who is about to open an orphanage in her late husband’s name.
Her maid Regine is helping to prepare things, Regine’s carpenter father has been working on the building and Pastor Manders is organising the paperwork.
At the same time, Helene’s son has also come back from Paris for the occasion.
“These five characters have a number of intersecting relationships and, over the course of a single day, we see many truths come to light and some honesty between them all,” Thomas said.
“Ghosts is a show about the effects left behind after someone is gone, so don’t expect any real spirits to appear.
“The biggest challenge is maintaining the authenticity of the story.
“Each of the five characters has distinct motivations and deep histories to get across in a short amount of time but so much of it is in the subtext, which can be difficult to find at times.”
Involved in theatre for several years, Thomas has written, directed and produced shows at Fringe World with Black Martini Productions and has also been involved with the Graduate Dramatic Society, Kelete Studios and the Old Mill, Tempest, Harbour, Art in Motion and Melville Theatres.
He has received several awards and nominations for roles in William Shakespeare’s Long Lost First Play (Abridged), Les Miserables, Present Laughter, A View From The Bridge and Camelot.
“When Melville Theatre asked if I would submit a show for consideration I went looking and, when I found my second cousin had adapted Ghosts, that connection inspired me to read the script,” Thomas said.
“I was immediately taken to the story and the language – every character has a complex journey and clearly has a view on everything that has happened.
“My favourite kind of theatre is where you simply have characters talking in the same space.
“You can get so much from simple conversations that come from characters with history.”
Henrik Ibsen’s Ghosts plays at 8pm August 5, 6, 11, 12, 13, 18, 19 and 20 with a 2pm matinee August 14. Tickets are $23, $18 concession – book at www.TAZTix.com.au. Note: the show contains adult themes.
Melville Theatre is at 393A Canning Highway (corner of Stock Road), Palmyra.
ghosts1: Natalie Burbage as Helen Alving in Henrik Ibsen’s Ghosts. Picture: David Cox
ghosts2: Henrik Ibsen’s Ghosts features Natalie Burbage, left, as Helen Alving and Grant Malcolm as Pastor Manders. Picture: David Cox
ghosts3: Jacob Engstrand (Zane Alexander, right) with his daughter Regine (Connie Wetherilt) in Henrik Ibsen’s Ghosts. Picture: David Cox
ghosts4: Osvald Alving (Felix Malcolm, left) with his mother’s maid, Regine Engstrand (Connie Wetherilt). Picture: David Cox
The Melville Theatre Company was the brainchild of David J. Burton who, in 1982, called a meeting for interested people in the community to form a theatre company in the Melville area.
As a result, the Melville Theatre Company was born. The newly formed company's first production was the farce, Not Now Darling. With its second production, The Sound of Music, the young company won the Finley Award for the best production of the year. Since then, actors and directors have consistently featured in the list of awards at the annual State Drama Festival.
Initially, performances were in the Melville Civic Centre but, since 1987, the venue has been the Roy Edinger Centre, 393A Canning Highway (corner of Stock Road and Canning Highway), Palmyra.
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