‘Not Me’

‘Not Me’ is the grammatically incorrect name of the new play devised by the GAP ll students from The Actors’ Hub. This piece is directed by Hermione Gehle, who has been involved in theatre and television for 24 years and has extensive directing experience both in Sydney and Perth. Hermione trained at the Actors’ College of Theatre and Television in New South Wales and has recently completed her Master’s in directing at the WAAPA.

Gehle has been faced with the task of making a grim topic entertaining. This theatre-in-education piece was devised for upper school students, to help them access and then tackle the social issues that arise from the new social media technology. Communication can be persuasive, pervasive, challenging to our daily standards and concepts, even leading to excommunication from friends – this provocative and ironic play assists youngsters see through the tempting gloss, dependence and scams, and become aware of the ‘real world’ out there.

This 75-minute play can be seen at The Studio Theatre, Subiaco Arts Centre, 180 Hamersley Road, Subiaco nightly at 7.30 until Saturday 28th March.

The set comprises of various sized, large white cubes moved around to create gathering places. Set by Jamie Davies.

       It is the Hamersly High School yard. In one corner Dez (Danen Engelenberg) is busy studying his iPhone, he talking to his latest girlfriend Lydia (Ashana Murphy. She has just sent him a ‘memorable’ photo; now they are arranging a wild party for the weekend. In another corner stand two naïve and excitable girls, Dez’s kid sister, Emily (Emma Harvey) and her best friend Sarah (Angela Mahlatjie). They are planning how to get an invitation to Lydia’s party.

     Tony (Jordan Holloway) is quietly reading his text messages, when one of his classmates (Quaid Kirchner) steals his phone for a joke, before typing in some unsavoury comments and then forwarding the message to the ‘world’. Further comments being added by Damian (Adam Droppert).

     Gavin (Justin Gray) searches and hacks away in an attempt to increase his collection of underage photos. Harry (Nicholas Allen) cheers up Emily and Sarah by secretly, and individually, offering to take them to the party – at a price.

     Will this fantastic party bring the happiness and fun that the friends expect?

I apologise for perhaps not linking the correct character name with the actor concerned, but the otherwise most informative programme omitted the characters’ names.

There were some amazing performances by these young actors. Emma and Angela were a total delight with their well-observed, pubescent characters. Every actor captured their persona perfectly. The message was slightly obvious, but it also made extremely clear the dangers of peer pressure and a desire to be loved.

Desne Smallberger’s lighting was well thought out, with selective lighting of areas and individuals. Tim Newhouse has created a subtle, most effective, slow (almost ad libitum) soundscape of music; at times the music was just the occasional note.

A most entertaining play that was fun, beautifully performed and directed. There are a few stars of the future in this show, so try and catch it before it tours the schools.