Will O’Mahony returns to The Mars Project

Will O’Mahony. Picture: Will Russell d452577
Will O’Mahony. Picture: Will Russell d452577

WHAT does responsibility mean in a world that’s obsessed with rugged individualism?

WAAPA-trained actor and director Will O’Mahony has investigated “whether the world is getting drunk on the atomised self” in many of his works over the years, including last year’s play, The Mars Project.

Commissioned by WAAPA program director Andrew Lewis in 2013, The Mars Project was three years in the making, initially collaborating with first year WAAPA acting students who presented it during their graduating year.

“We were given two years to brainstorm an idea,” O’Mahony said.

“Someone mentioned this Mars One enterprise that claims it can send four people to Mars by 2025, the problem being they can’t get them back.

“The students and I began daydreaming about what it means to sign up to something where there is no possible return; then I went away and wrote the play.”

The Blue Room Theatre will present a second season of The Mars Project from April 19 to May 7, changing from a cast of 17 students to five Perth actors, including Felicity McKay, Luke Fewster, Andrea Gibbs and Steve Turner.

“To do a work with 17 people is next to impossible outside of a tertiary institution from an economic point of view,” the 29-year-old said.

“This time there’s one actor in the play who plays one character and the remaining four play every other role.

“In any creative room I step into, I’m always interested in seeing what the new creative ensemble can bring to the work, so small things have been tweaked with the new cast and design team but the play is essentially the same.

“I really loved the work I did with the WAAPA students and it would have been something of a betrayal to completely overhaul it for the sake of it.”

The Mars Project focuses on twins Wren and Sam and explores how much people sacrifice for the chance of a new life.

“Wren catches wind of this opportunity to go to Mars and never come back,” O’Mahony said.

“We follow her journey in being selected. She enlists the help of a strategist as well as a self-help guru in order to empower her to find her best self.

“But we also follow the story of Sam and how her family life begins to impact and essentially derail her ambition.”


What: The Mars Project

Where: The Blue Room Theatre

When: April 19 to May 7

Tickets: www.blueroom.org.au