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Opening 23 August 2007

Kucom’s latest venture into Youth Theatre is fast paced look at that all Australian rite of passage – Schoolies Week.

Blurred, by Stephen Davis, makes no judgements about some of the antics our teenagers get up to in this adrenalin-fuelled time of their lives, just observations which are often quite hilarious.

Director Betsy Atkinson is a drama teacher and a Year 12 house family group teacher at Mackay Christian College, so is no stranger to the head-spinning emotions youth experience during schoolies week. She feels it’s important for the kids to be able to laugh at themselves while tackling the subject.

Cast includes Phillip Burke, Letitia O’Brien and Rhiannon Shepherd who were all members of the cast of SKATE. We also have some very talented newcomers including Zane Sarchett, Chelly Raymond, Kerri Henderson, Rohan Turner, Ellie Hutton, Aaron Finlayson and Catee Dodding.

Once again we have a great mix of kids from different schools and backgrounds. It's great to see our local youth getting involved in community theatre, and we hope to provide them with a fantastic experience they will treasure always.

We have been very fortunate in receiving funding from MADEC for this project, as we will be going a bit high tech and using a data projector to assist with some of the staging. Very cool!


Kucom Theatre Inc. has again sponsored Youth Drama in Mackay, this year under the guest directorship of Betsy Atkinson. Boldly she has chosen Stephen Davis’ one-act play Blurred, a frighteningly frank expose of schoolies’ week. Sandwiched between an opening and closing scene of a couple of old-hand predators, the action follows the journeys of several students to the coast. As a social comment it rivals Alan Seymour’s The One Day of the Year where the audience is faced with the brutal truth of Anzac Day celebrations in the 1960s. As black comedy, it raises continual laughter, but the sinister threatening beat underlying this humour never lets up. The drama enables parents and teachers to experience this rite of passage from which they have traditionally been excluded, first hand. Students gain a taste of what is in store for them, and can learn of the pitfalls.

The totally black set works wonderfully with the sparse contrapuntal minor settings of back seat, train seats, car and apartment. The central positioning of the overhead projector flashing fuller pictures of the coast, the bus and other pertinent material ties the action together most satisfactorily. Lighting is simple and thus effective. All this, with the music and sounds off are a credit to young Sam Hassett, for good theatre goes way beyond treading the boards.

The age of the actors is perhaps the most compelling feature of the production, bringing a heart-rendering vulnerability to the action, naturally, unaware. The audience is shocked by their fears and how they cope, their insecurity as to their futures, the dependence on alcohol, and TV soaps for advice on how to live life, their desire for freedom at any price and the age-old certainty of their own immortality. One wonders where good parenting and wholesome teaching has disappeared to.

Outstanding amongst an enthusiastic group of budding actors were Cattee Dodding (Thelma) and Chelly Raymond (Loulou) as the country hicks from 800 kilometers away. The audience adored their spontaneous love of life and fun, their down-to-earth basics in their falling-to-bits car. Rhiannon Shepherd (Amanda) and Kerri Henderson (Yolanda) as private schoolgirls sharing a limo to Surfers were delightful and managed their drunkenness with more subtlety than most more experienced actors. Their freezing in positioning so as not to upstage action elsewhere on the stage was exemplary. The phone techniques of Letitia O’Brien as Freda and Amanda were excellent.

A good director needs to have every aspect of the production under control, and Betsy Atkinson certainly did. The actors loved every minute of their time on the stage and all show great promise, for therein lies our healthy theatrical future.

Although touted as a play to appeal to the under 25 year olds, no parent of teenage children should miss out on experiencing Blurred; then decide on what they wish for their beloved children when that time comes.

Reviewer: Enid Forsyth for The Daily Mercury



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