Mr Bailey’s Minder: Forrestfield actress to take stage in play by Offspring creator

Phil Barnett as the naive handyman Karl with Sjaan Lucas as the 'big-mouth scrag' Therese.
Phil Barnett as the naive handyman Karl with Sjaan Lucas as the 'big-mouth scrag' Therese.

FORRESTFIELD resident Sjaan Lucas is taking to the stage in a play from Offspring creator and head writer Debra Oswald.

Directed by Vanessa Jensen, Mr Bailey’s Minder is the story of Leo Bailey, one of Australia’s greatest living artists, whose genius battles to survive the effects of alcohol, cynicism and self-loathing.

Only one of his many children, Margo, is prepared to help but only at arm’s length – she finds live-in-minder Therese (played by Lucas), fresh out of prison and desperate for a home.

Added to the mix is handyman Karl, who has the job of removing a valuable mural but keeps returning with offers of practical friendship.

Oswald is an award-winning writer with credits including Police Rescue, Bananas in Pyjamas, Wildside and The Secret Life of Us.

“Therese actually describes herself as a ‘big-mouth scrag’ and she’s definitely a bit rough around the edges,” Lucas said.

“She’s been in jail, has past regrets and carries a lot of self-doubt – but is starting to look towards making herself a better person.”

She said the biggest challenge was portraying the subtleties in the broad emotional journey Therese experiences.

Involved in theatre for more than 15 years, Lucas also performs in Fringe World and her latest show marks her 20th production.

She received a best actress nomination at the 2009 Finley Awards her role in The Shape of Things.

“I saw Mr Bailey’s Minder listed as one of the shows Melville Theatre was putting on this year and sourced the script,” Lucas said.

“It made me cry the first three times I read it – just as it has multiple times during auditions and rehearsals – and I knew I really wanted to be a part of it.

“I almost didn’t audition, after realising a performance date initially clashed with my brother’s wedding, but I asked if I could attend just so I could experience working with other actors on the script. Luckily, director Vanessa Jensen allowed me to and liked what I did.”

Jensen said the play wasn’t about art but instead questioned whether the selfishness often displayed by those with incredible talent can ever be justification for treating others poorly.

Mr Bailey’s Minder is a beautifully-written drama bursting with honesty, a little humour and a whole lot of heart,” she said.

“No matter how lost and damaged you are, or damaging to others you’ve been, it gives hope there’s always a way of finding some healing and peace.”

Note: the play has some coarse language.

What: Mr Bailey’s Minder
When: 8pm May 4, 5, 10, 11 and 12 with a 2pm matinee May 6
Where: Melville Theatre, Palmyra

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