KALAMUNDA Senior High School graduate Hayley Derwort is opening the pages of the classic Australian novel Cloudstreet by Tim Winton this June, helping to bring it to life at the Old Mill Theatre.
Adapted by Nick Enright and Justin Monjo and directed by Brendan Ellis, it spans 20 years in the lives of the Pickles and the Lambs, two families thrown together by fortune in a large, haunted house in Cloud Street, Perth.
The deeply moving, funny and tragic tale of Aussie suburbia tells a universal truth about the meaning of home and urges of the human heart, as two utterly mismatched families crammed under one crumbling roof learn to live together.
While the original novel won the Miles Franklin Award in 1992, the stage version has gone on to triumph in Zurich, Dublin, London, New York and Washington, picking up the 2002 Helpmann Award for Best Play.
Derwort plays the intriguing character of Elaine Lamb.
“She has a few flaws, which are exacerbated beyond her control by frequent headaches,” she said.
“Elaine is plagued by jealousy a lot but, deep down, only wants a bit of happiness.
“The main challenge is some of Elaine’s personality traits; I have no experience of what she goes through so I really have to dig deep to accurately portray her.”
Involved in theatre from age seven, Derwort usually works with Marloo Theatre in Greenmount where she directed Gentlemen Inc earlier this year.
“Cloudstreet appealed because of the classic nature of the show,” she said.
“Tim Winton is a quintessential Australian storyteller and I have a great love for it.
“Working with director Brendan Ellis again is wonderful, too.”
Ellis said every full-length show he has directed so far has been Australian.
“I wanted to continue that trend because I think it is so important to see Australian works on stage,” he said.
“Cloudstreet’s dialogue is full of beautiful imagery, faithfully adapted by the playwrights, and there are so many great characters that I can guarantee audience members will be able to relate to at least one and say ‘I’ve been there’.
“A lot of content has been removed or is only alluded to in the play; the big milestone moments remain but the smaller details have taken a back seat.
“They will be portrayed by the actors through physicality and their emotion, rather than through dialogue.”
Cloudstreet plays at 7.30pm June 16, 17, 22, 23, 24, 28, 29, 30 and July 1 with 2pm matinees June 18 and 25. Tickets are $25, $20 concession.
Book at http://oldmilltheatre.com.au/tickets or on 0475 895 701.