MINDARIE teenager Brandon Orgill (13) is taking part in an imagined meeting between English composer Benjamin Britten and poet WH Auden at the Old Mill Theatre this month.
Written by Alan Bennett, one of the UK’s most prolific living playwrights, The Habit of Art sees the two men meet for the first time in 25 years with Britten seeking advice from Auden – his former collaborator and friend – about his new opera Death in Venice.
During the 1973 meeting, they were observed and interrupted by, among others, their future biographer and a young man from the local bus station.
The play-within-a-play looks at the unsettling desires of two difficult men and the ethics of biography, reflecting on growing old, creativity and inspiration and persisting when all passion is spent.
Brandon plays the role of the young boy Charlie.
“He’s auditioning for a play and is being taught to sing,” the Year 8 Peter Moyes Anglican Community School student said.
The Habit of Art is Brandon’s first theatrical show on stage, although he previously had a small acting and opera singing role in Love is in the Arias.
He was also one of the 100 children chosen to go through to the blind auditions on The Voice Kids in 2014 and received a private coaching session with Delta Goodrem.
“The character of Charlie in The Habit of Art appealed to me because it’s a singing role and I love to sing,” Brandon said.
“The show will give me more experience because I hope to be a professional singer one day.”
Director Anthony Howes described The Habit of Art as one of the finest comedy-dramas of the past decade.
“It takes two great men of the arts and, through much laughter and a few tears, shows them to be fallible human beings with a passion for the arts,” he said.
“The play articulates that passion for the ordinary theatre-goer, enabling them to feel and understand.”
The Habit of Art plays at 8pm on April 15, 16, 20, 21, 22, 23, 29 and 30 with a 2pm matinee on April 17.
Tickets are $25, or $20 concession on 9367 8719.