Sunday, March 4th, 2012
SOMETIMES we feel damaged beyond repair – but is it just a flesh wound?

It’s a question pondered in the latest play written and directed by Jessica Messenger, with assistance from Stages WA, premiering at the Old Mill Theatre this March.

Flesh Wounds follows the interconnecting lives and relationships of six characters as they struggle to grow up and deal with their baggage.

From alcoholic buskers, aspiring singer-songwriters, pregnant waitresses and traumatised post office clerks through to a love triangle between God, a conservative Christian and another man, the play mixes many emotional moments with live music and dry humour.

Messenger started writing Flesh Wounds in 2009 and went through multiple drafts and script development funded by playwright consortium Stages WA before she felt it was ready for an audience.

“A combination of factors inspired me to write it,” she said. “I fell in love with the characters and the concept that sometimes the only obstacle standing in our way is ourselves.

“Perth is also such a music town and I wanted to incorporate my love for live music with my passion for modern Australian theatre.

“While Flesh Wounds is not a musical, it’s full of live music and features some really talented singer-songwriters, who also just happen to be fantastic dramatic actors.”

The biggest challenge for Messenger is ensuring she captures the vulnerability of her characters without losing the excitement of the play, nor the lighter, funnier moments

“There’s plenty of the ‘wow’ factor as you go from live musical performances to huge dramatic character roles and a combination of stark naturalism and more stylised theatre,” she said.

“Flesh Wounds has some really emotional and raw moments but they’re balanced with good portion of humour – the real challenge will be hitting every note right.”

Starting as a professional actor with theatre-in-education performances in 2005, Messenger has since performed in about 30 productions with Fine Edge, Class Act, Blak Yak, Old Mill and Pocket Theatres and Arena Arts and Entertainment.

She has been nominated for best supporting actress at the annual Finley Awards, shortlisted at the Inscription National Playwriting competition and won best director, best script and best production for two different shows at Dramafest, the annual state drama festival.

“This will be my 10th time in the director’s chair but my first time directing for the Old Mill Theatre and I'm excited to be working with such a fantastic company and a terrific cast,” Messenger said.

“The Old Mill seemed like the perfect venue – it's such a beautiful theatre and I have been involved in a number of productions staged there over the years.”

Flesh Wounds plays at 8pm, March 9, 10, 15, 16, 17, 21, 22, 23 and 24 with a 2pm matinee March 18.

Tickets are $20, $15 concession – book on 9367 8719 or [email protected]

The heritage-listed Old Mill Theatre is on Mends Street, South Perth, opposite the Windsor Hotel and Australia Post.

fw1-3: Bella Huggins, Gareth Jay, Charles McComb, Bonnie Coyle, Madelaine Page and Andy Hopkins are appearing in the premiere of Flesh Wounds this March.

fw4: Bella Huggins, Charles McComb, Gareth Jay, Bonnie Coyle, Madelaine Page and Andy Hopkins play six characters whose lives and relationships interconnect in Flesh Wounds.

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Old Mill Theatre

South Perth's Old Mill Theatre is fortunate to be operating out of one of the most historic buildings in South Perth. It was opened in 1899 as a Mechanics' Institute Hall. The South Perth Council purchased the building in 1913 and renamed it the Mends Street Hall. The council still owns the building, and supports our use of it.

The building first became a home of theatre in 1948, when the South Perth Dramatic Society moved in. The name Old Mill Theatre was first used in 1958, and the company was incorporated in 1959. In 2009, the theatre celebrated its 60th anniversary.

A number of significant changes to the building have occurred over the past few years, with major extensions completed in 2002. An understage tunnel, which links two backstage dressing rooms and enables easier access from one side of the stage to the other, was completed in 2008. Bathroom facilities have also been installed backstage as part of this project, which was wholly self-funded.

The Old Mill Theatre is fortunate to have strong support from its local council, the City of South Perth. The city undertook major renovations to the exterior of the building in 2008 and the theatre is looking better now than ever before.
Jessica Messenger
P: 0437 884 842


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