WAAPA to cast magical realism over State Theatre Centre of WA Courtyard with The Tempest


Director Stuart Halusz (North Perth) with Laura McDonald (Mt Lawley), Stephanie Somerville (North Perth) and Mitchell Bourke (Mt Lawley). Picture: Andrew Ritchie
Director Stuart Halusz (North Perth) with Laura McDonald (Mt Lawley), Stephanie Somerville (North Perth) and Mitchell Bourke (Mt Lawley). Picture: Andrew Ritchie

LIKE many roles Stuart Halusz has been cast in during his career, there seems no better person than him to take on the part of directing third-year WAAPA students in Shakespeare’s last solely written play The Tempest.

“I have always loved this play; I am particularly fond of Shakespeare’s later plays,” Halusz said.

“I have directed scenes from it before but never the full play, so I was thrilled when asked to direct it.

“This production is very much influenced by my time at Shakespeare’s Globe in 2001 (where Halusz did an International Artistic Fellowship).

“Many of the skills, techniques and approaches to working on Shakespeare were gleaned from a month’s intensive work with masters and artists who were making constant discoveries about the plays by performing them in the space Shakespeare was writing them for, so I was particularly keen to put into practice these techniques with a large cast on a thrust stage.”

Halusz, who is Black Swan State Theatre Company’s associate director, has returned to his old stamping ground at WAAPA and is also teaching Shakespeare masterclasses to second-year acting students.

He said The Tempest was magical realism at its best and a fantastical play where characters were forced out of their comfort zones and went through a process of moral and spiritual change.

“It covers a lot of big themes: love, revenge, forgiveness, penitence, servility and power struggles,” Halusz said.

“And it’s really funny. As with all great plays we learn much about human nature, and I hope to also explore the magic of theatre and inventive storytelling.

“This is a play for all ages, for lovers of Shakespeare and newcomers alike, keen to experience the last play solely written by arguably the greatest playwright ever to put quill to paper.”

The production will be performed outdoors in State Theatre Centre of WA’s courtyard, a venue as close as possible to Shakespeare Globe Theatre.

Entry is free and seating unreserved.

“The outdoor space has its acoustic peculiarities and sense of openness,” Halusz said.

“I think it actually presents more opportunities than obstacles, especially with the actors being able to contact the audience and play off them so much more than you can in a traditional proscenium arch theatre, where you can’t even see them.”

THE ESSENTIALS

What: The Tempest

Where: State Theatre Centre of WA Courtyard

When: 7.30pm, March 17, 18, 20, 21, 22 and 23

2pm, March 18

Entry: Free