Away

Performance: August 6 – August 21 2010

A QUINTESSENTIALLY Australian story, mixing drama, humour and home truths, is the latest offering from the Old Mill Theatre this August.

Written by Michael Gow and directed by Vanessa Jensen, Away is the story of three different families who go on their annual Christmas holidays in late 1967, all burdened with their own baggage.

“It’s a beautiful Australian play with wonderfully-written characters,” Jensen said. “The language, setting and story are undeniably Australian.

“During the course of the story, a storm ends up bringing the families together, helping them to unload some of their baggage.”

Attracted to the play for its simplicity, Jensen said Away also has a lot of depth and is easily accessible with a moving story.

“I saw a professional production at the Hole in Wall Theatre in the late 1980s, which was excellent, but most people have only seen school productions of Away,” she said.

“While these are often very good, a lot of the depth of character and story are lost when all roles are played by 16-year-olds – I wanted to see it again with adults in the adult roles!”

Jensen has a wealth of theatre experience behind her, after first appearing on stage as an eight-year-old and directing her first show at 14.

She wrote, directed, stage managed and acted in various shows at Curtin University’s Hayman Theatre over a four-year period and has staged several successful productions at the Old Mill and Melville Theatres, including The Venetian Twins, Three Tall Women, Pride and Prejudice and her own award-winning script Jamie’s Chooks.

One of the main challenges Jensen faces with Away is the fact that many people have already studied the script at school.

“While this can mean full houses for the show, it can also mean pre-conceived ideas about how it should be staged,” she said.

“The play comes across as sounding deceptively simple but it’s actually a complex and richly-textured story with many layers and meanings.

“One of the things I love about Away is its use of, and parallels with, Shakespeare, which helps to make it unique.

“That shouldn’t put people off, however, because the play is extremely accessible – it’s just one of the many layers Michael Gow has used in his script.”

Away plays at 8pm, August 6, 7, 12, 13, 14, 18, 19, 20 and 21 with a 2pm matinee on August 15. Tickets are $20, $15 concession and $15 each for group bookings of 10 or more – call 9367 8719 or oldmilltheatre@iinet.net.au.