WAAPA music theatre graduates are expected to be able to audition for anything, not just the latest big musical.
Music theatre acting program co-ordinator Crispin Taylor, who has taught and directed at WAAPA for 17 years, said they prepared graduates for everything from musicals and state theatre companies to film and television.
“I certainly don’t just teach acting for musicals,” Taylor said.
“I teach acting in a classical approach and that’s why we include at least two straight plays during the (three-year) course.”
Second year music theatre students will flex these skills when they present Lord of the Flies at Geoff Gibbs Theatre from March 17-23.
Taylor said they always started second year with a non-musical work and Lord of the Flies was a play he had wanted to do for ages.
“I just hadn’t worked out conceptually how I was going to do it and then it came to me,” he said.
“There have been acclaimed all-male productions and all-female productions, but never productions that split the cast.
“In any one performance, the girls will do the first act and the boys the second act or vice versa.”
Taylor said the rehearsals had proven a fascinating process where the usual sense of competition with any double casting had transformed into a sense of collaboration and co-operation, with each male and female actor working together to create their character.
“Normally you don’t copy another actor’s work but in this case they’re just feeding off each other, which is great,” he said.
The production, not suitable for children, shows a group of young British school boys who become marooned on a desert island and have no adults to supervise them.
Taylor said they developed, or disintegrated, into a society that revealed the darkest side of nature.
“We’re having a ball and as you can imagine, as the play goes on the tribes as such become more and more feral,” he said.
“There is this sense of Mad Max about it; it’s kind of Big Brother meets Survivor.”
What: Lord of the Flies
Where: Geoff Gibbs Theatre, WAAPA
When: March 17-23