PLAYING the role of Sandra Wilkinson in Mischief Theatre Company (UK) Australian production The Play That Goes Wrong is at the top of Brooke Satchwell’s list of favourite jobs over the past 20 years.
“It’s been quite a challenge for me as an actor because I’ve never done the saucy minx, diva thing,” Satchwell said.
“It was like standing at the bottom of Everest at one point and not even knowing the parameters for that kind of behaviour. It’s been a new frontier for me to play Sandra.
“But that discovery is what being an actor is all about.”
Amateur theatre actor Sandra is one cog in the chaos that ensues on stage in the play within a play as Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society present The Murder at Haversham Manor through a cavalcade of mishaps and with the adage, the show must go on.
Satchwell said she regarded Sandra, who undertakes the role of Florence Colleymoore, as a monster.
“Technically in theory she would be capable of doing a half-decent job in The Murder at Haversham Manor and could possibly be a proficient actress,” Satchwell said.
“However, there is clearly this hunger, drive and win-at-all-costs strand lurking beneath the surface that derails her dignity.
“There’s such a magical energy that comes from the fact the cast performs no-holds-barred and we wear our bruises with pride and as badges of honour.
“We have to give it 100 per cent in every moment and what that elicits from the audience is an extraordinary energy exchange.
“It’s just addictive and there are not many opportunities you get in life to do that over a sustained period of two and a half hours.”
Last in Perth for Black Swan State Theatre Company’s 2010 production The Clean House, where she spoke Portuguese, Satchwell has an array of television credits from Neighbours and Play School to more recently Dirty Laundry and Black Comedy.
The Sydney-based actor said she adored all mediums because she loved storytelling, but theatre cast its spell with its immediacy.
“It’s the sense of stepping off into the darkness like that tightrope experience in theatre performance where there are no safety nets,” she said.
“I think that unlocks something different performance-wise and I love playing with that.”
Satchwell said she responded to the joy of The Play That Goes Wrong from the start, which began with a series of clowning workshops
By the time she reached rehearsals, everyone entered the rehearsal room willing and ready to do whatever it took to make it the best production possible.
They succeeded in this by opening night in Melbourne before tour dates finish in Perth at His Majesty’s Theatre, May 31 to June 11.
“I like to call the play innocent anarchy and that’s what’s lovely about this particular production because there’s nothing subversive or adults-only,” Satchwell said.
“It is just silliness accessible to all ages.
“I think we love to see people going through excruciating moments, which are testament to why shows like Funniest Home Videos garner such great audiences; that’s where slapstick resonates so strongly.
“Purely by nature of physicality and that innate human cringe seems to have translated so beautifully and transcends language barriers, proving it’s successful in all the countries it’s toured including France and Hungry.
“Beyond that, we’re at a point where life is very full and intense, and this is almost like permission to let go and have a good belly laugh. Hats off to the Mischief Theatre gang for getting this on the road.”
What: The Play That Goes Wrong
Where: His Majesty’s Theatre
When: May 31 to June 11