A storm is coming: Local masterpiece comes to life
AS you find your patch of grass in the ironically windy outdoor amphitheatre waiting for Monsoon to begin, you can tell a storm is coming.
Set underneath the newly renovated and impressive Yeppoon Foreshore stage, Ross James' creative scene was set as young and old gathered to watch a humble production by local talents.
An array of dedicated actors and actresses huddled backstage all practising their lines for the first official performance of the production.
Some nervous and some ready to impress the 100 people eagerly waiting on the other side of the screen.
But if you said Monsoon was only about Cyclone Marcia, you'd be wrong.
The creative intelligence behind the production was something never before produced on the Cap Coast.
Constantly twisting and pulling the audience in different directions, Rod Ainsworth's script told a dramatic story of more than just the weather.
Teamed with the directing talents of Travis Hock, the play was beautifully presented and credit to him for being able to tell such a dramatic story in a touching way.
Cyclone Marcia, played by Jill Stevens, is the glue holding the story together.
Her roaring presence blows in and out of stage, like the storm, reminding the audience it was her who created this mess.
As a strong and influencing presence, Jill and her glorious costume designed by Amanda Hock, create an alluring vibe amongst a dramatic performance.
But the story is not about her.
You walk into Monsoon expecting something and walk out experiencing the opposite.
A constant battle between two twins, a boy and a girl, the wind and the ocean, envelops the entire performance in a spectacle of drama.
Told from the legend of a book called Monsoon, the audience is led into a world of supposed myth.
Mark Alston plays Max, a seemingly ageless being who narrates and tells the story of the book to it's next example.
He is a booming presence on the stage who is lost in the legend of Monsoon, a crucial member of the cast.
Maisy Bartley, who plays a lost twin longing to find her brother, is a young stand out among an older and experienced cast.
Maisy splits between that role and the role of Gen throughout the performance but her poise and talent on stage enables her to represent both characters well.
As a twisted and desperate character, Maisy never falters in her ability to perform despite her age and innocence.
Roman Willson, the youngest of the cast and twin brother Sam, was confident on stage and was an outstanding as a duo when battling the inner voices of his sister.
Frequent time-period changes keep the audience on their toes throughout the hour long play and until the very end.
Both Jesse Warren and Kendal Lane play the older versions of their younger cast members and endure a lifetime of heartache from this mystical book.
Jesse's raw performance as Sam is touching and unexpected with Rod's script leaving the audience hanging, yet again.
Kendal consumes herself in the heart-wrenching role of an older Gen who's torn apart by the book shaping their lives.
A cast of only ten talented locals, Monsoon is intimate enough to get to know each of them.
At the end of the show you notice you're suddenly leaning forward longing for more instead of relaxing back as you were in the beginning.
Monsoon leaves you hanging on every last word and is an absolute must if you went through that devastating cyclone in 2015.
But most of all, it is the most exquisite example of the brilliance that is capable from the talents in our region and a completely local production team.
Monsoon is playing again tonight at the Yeppoon Foreshore at 8pm.
Grab your tickets here: http://www.keppelcoastarts.org.au/ or at the door, cash only.
Australian Government Regional Arts Fund
The John Villiers Trust
Livingstone Shire Council
Playwright: Rod Ainsworth
Director: Travis Hock
Costumes: Amanda Hock
Set Design, Sound & Lighting: Ross James
Lighting: Ian Rendell
Videographer: Hughi Simmons
Project Coordinator, Stage Manager, Graphic Design, Publicity & Programs: Steve Marshall
Roman Willson as Young Sam
Jesse Warren as Older Sam
Maisy Bartley as The Girl/Young Gen
Kendal Lane as Older Gen/Mia
Mark Alston as Max
Jill Stevens as Marcia
Garyth Walpole as Daryl
Jodie van de Wetering as Bernadette
Oliver Skrzypczynski as Bill
Kat Robinson as Lauren
Leanne Smith: Keppel Coast Arts
Sam Willoughby: Maisy's mum
Robert Bartley: Maisy's dad
Matthew Willson: Roman's dad
Ren Roby: BlingBling Costumes
Nora Hanasy: Artist
Crissy Williams: Elements Hair & Co
Allan Reinnika: Photographs
Monsoon was commissioned by Keppel Coast Arts and is rights protected under the Australian Copyright Act 2017.
Monsoon Script © 2017, Rod Ainsworth. Musical score © 2017, The Short Fall. All Rights Reserved.