WHAT happens when you take a manic depressive, junkie, mute, overeater, doped-up musician, obsessive compulsive and pyromaniac and try to get them to perform a Mozart opera?
The answer is Cosi, the popular Australian play by Louis Nowra showing at Phoenix Theatre this May.
It follows fresh-faced university graduate Lewis, who is contracted to put on a play at the local asylum with some of its patients – but he feels out of his depth directing them in the opera Cosi fan tutte.
Through working with the patients, Lewis eventually discovers a new side of himself which allows him to become emotionally involved and to value love.
Nowra is one of Australia’s leading playwrights, responsible for Radiance, The Golden Age, Miss Bosnia and Summer of the Aliens.
He adapted Cosi into a 1996 film with Toni Collette, Rachel Griffiths, David Wenham, Ben Mendelsohn and Jacki Weaver, scoring the Australian Film Institute Award for best adapted screenplay.
Director Jayde Clark says she has a passion for Australian theatre because it can tell stories from our past.
“It shows the world how we can be loyal, loving and larrikins all at once,” she said. “Australian plays have the over-arching theme of mateship and that’s what Cosi captures.
“It’s a black comedy that gives you a fly-on-the-wall feeling about what happens in asylums and how people can band together to create something amazing.
“The play educates people to not look at people with mental illness as crazy who should be shut away but to realise they are just like you and me.
“Cosi provides this sense of learning a moral, wrapped up in a comedy, showing the dark and light side of human life.”
Involved with Phoenix Theatre since 2012 when she appeared in the Australian premiere of Virgin Warrior, Clark went on to direct The Mocky Horror Monster Ball and has served as vice president and president of the theatre’s committee.
In 2013, she co-directed Maul of the Dead and appeared in When The Lights Go Down and Sorority House of the Dead.
Previously, Clark directed Roses Are Black at the Koorliny Arts Centre and Shakespeare Standoff and A Midsummer Night’s Dream at university – where she also brought Cosi to life for the first time.
She also appeared in Avenue Q at Roleystone Theatre in 2012.
“With this production of Cosi, my biggest challenge is finding a piano accordion and teaching Ryan S. McNally, who plays Zac, to perform The Ride of the Valkyries on it,” Clark said.
Cosi plays at 8pm, May 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, and 17 with a 2pm matinee May 11. Tickets are $20 adults, $18 concession plus transaction fees – book through TAZTix on (08) 9255 3336 or www.TAZTix.com.au.
Please note: the show has strobe lighting, sexual references, coarse language and stylised violence (all mild).
Phoenix Theatre is located at 435 Carrington Street, Hamilton Hill, within the Hamilton Hill Memorial Hall.
cosi1: Shaun Griffin (Roy), Kate Lloyd (Lucy), Katrina Murphy (Cherry), Ryan S. McNally (Zac), Cody Fullbrook (Lewis) and Anthony Smith (Doug, front) are appearing in the popular Australian play Cosi this May. Picture: The Sneaky Photographer
cosi-cherry-lewis: Cherry (Katrina Murphy) is convinced food is the way to win the heart of Lewis (Cody Fullbrook) in Cosi. Picture: The Sneaky Photographer
cosi-doug: Anthony Smith plays the pyromaniac Doug in Cosi. Picture: The Sneaky Photographer
Established in 2005, Phoenix Theatre Inc operates out of Hamilton Hill’s Memorial Hall.
Presently the theatre provides the classic entertainment of theatrical plays, productions, musicals and pantomimes, while striving to expand its genre and range with new exciting live performances that appeal to a young, fresh dynamic.
As a young and growing theatre, the members are increasing in numbers, from beginners to experienced. Phoenix encourages all aspiring and accomplished actors and actresses to experience the theatre and ultimately have fun through the arts.
The group puts on approximately four productions a year, and were the first theatre group in the City of Cockburn.
New members, both on-stage and back-stage are always welcome.
P: 0423 625 026