Moby Dick whale of a tale shortened to one-act comedy at Old Mill Theatre

Moby Dick whale of a tale shortened to one-act comedy at Old Mill Theatre

COARSE theatre is a theatrical style where anything in live theatre that could go wrong does go wrong, but the actors continue, believing the audience has not noticed.

Old Mill Theatre in South Perth continues its tradition of presenting a September season of one-act plays with a program featuring local playwright Noel O’Neill’s works Widow’s Peak and Under The Rainbow with coarse theatre piece Moby Dick.

Perth actor Chris Thomas stars as Captain Ahab in Michael Green’s adaptation of Herman Melville’s novel, directed by Sarah Christiner.

He said Green had taken the essence of Moby Dick and turned it into a 25-minute comedy while giving a knowing wink to theatrical mishaps.

“That’s kind of the joke; it’s as if a theatre company has tried a particularly over-ambitious attempt to put the novel on stage, done earnestly and in all seriousness,” Thomas said.

“But of course it’s fraught with disaster because of the scale of what they’re trying to do.

“Everything that can go wrong absolutely does; it’s a send-up of theatre. And yet Green manages to actually get the main plot points of Moby Dick into his script.”

Thomas, who has acted for 23 years, said every actor had been in a show where someone had either jumped three pages of dialogue, realised they’ve left a prop backstage or had a run-in with the set.

“Green’s script absorbs all these calamities into one play,” he said.

“Any actor will understand the struggles being faced by the actors in Moby Dick.”

Thomas said he enjoyed playing Captain Ahab in this tale of revenge that had inspired many other characters in storytelling over the years.

“Plus I get to wear an outrageously fake beard, bad wooden leg and do a pirate-like voice,” he said.

“It’s an obvious send-up, which appeals to my sense of humour.”

Thomas said he hoped audiences enjoyed this year’s “tasting platter” of one-act plays.

“The joy of a short play season is that it’s always a mixed bag, like a lucky dip,” he said.

“You get a bit of everything – drama, comedy and sometimes other styles – and they’re all delivered in nice bite-sized pieces of theatre.”

THE ESSENTIALS

What: Moby Dick, Widow’s Peak and Under The Rainbow

Where: Old Mill Theatre, South Perth

When: September 7 to 10

Tickets: 9367 8719 or email oldmilltheatre@iinet.net.au