Before The Violent Outburst That Drew Me To You bursts onto the Stables stage on 18 June, visiting theatre director Adam Deusien witnesses the assimilation of two new cast members and reflects on his own work with theatre students on the cusp of teenagerdom and adulthood.
My name is Adam Deusien, a director from Bathurst in regional NSW and I’m observing rehearsals for the new season of The Violent Outburst That Drew Me to You.
The Violent Outburst team on the rehearsal floor
I met Kate Gaul during a directing Masterclass she led as part of the Central West Short Play Festival earlier this year. I immediately recognised a directorial sensibility that embraced both a delicate attention and a brutal specificity that I seek to develop in theatre-making myself, and as the re-rehearsal period unfolds, I definitely see both in practice simultaneously.
The Violent Outburst That Drew Me to You is definitely a text that demands these types of attention. Finegan Kruckemeyer’s central character, Connor, is a teenager that is seeking to both confront and to be accepted by the world around him. I’m sometimes reminded of the work I do with young theatre/media students at Charles Sturt University in Bathurst, and any of us who work, live with (or can remember being) such a young person will recognise Connor too. It’s a dark and confusing time – sitting on the cusp of adulthood and feeling isolated in the negotiation of diverse expectations and desires; ones that seem foreign and strange, but oddly intuitively familiar.
Akin to this, it’s a strange, but ultimately delightful thing to witness this particular company at work. Three of the five actors (Emily Ayoub, Michael Cutrupi, and Anthony Weir) came from the Riverside season last year, with the other two (Renee Heys and Natalia Ladyko) only joining the process now. It really is a complex thing that is happening. The original cast are simultaneously re-creating but also re-inventing the world of the play as they remember what was done before, but with the added destabilisation of the new cast, who are deftly accepting the challenge of entering what was a known place to the rest. Of course, the work was always going to shift and develop for the new space, but the addition of Renee and Natalia seems to allow the whole company to embrace the strange and new in this familiar world.
And it’s a wonderous world they are all discovering. There is a chaotic kind of magic here in the Outburst space. With shadow puppetry, dance numbers and even an (almost) musical theatre moment as Connor’s Mum and Dad fulfill every parent’s not-so-empty threat, it’s Connor’s altered interpretation of the teenage existence: something quite askew as he attempts to adjust to the morphing demands of childhood into adulthood. It is a world that doesn’t make sense to him and this chaos is right at the front of the staging of this play.
As Connor tries to order the strange but familiar world slowly being revealed to him, so to is this company, and I look forward to continuing to witness Kate and the team navigate the process.
Theatre director and performer, Adam Deusien
Adam Deusien, June 2014
Finegan Kruckemeyer’s The Violent Outburst That Drew Me To You runs from 18 June – 12 July. To book tickets, click here or call 02 9361 3817.