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Stage set for director’s debut

Wednesday, 19th October, 2011

WORK ON SHOW: Ethan Mercer makes his debut as a director this weekend. WORK ON SHOW: Ethan Mercer makes his debut as a director this weekend.

By Erica Visser

 Young local director, Ethan Mercer, will present his first play at Theatre 44 this weekend.

The play, entitled “What I Want to Say But Never Will”, by American playwright, Alan Haehnael, focuses on the societal issues which affect youth and their parents. 

Mr Mercer said he chose this particular play because its “universal” themes were particularly relevant to a young cast.

“It shows off a lot of the talent around town,” he said.

“Some of the content is mostly teenaged kids speaking their minds.

“However, some of the more dramatic stuff is based on huge social issues like bulimia and rape.” 

While a few of the themes are confronting, most of it is relevant to most young people and their parents.

“A brother warns his brother about the effects of drugs and alcohol in one part,” Mr Mercer said.

This was largely due to the fact that Haehnael, who is also an English teacher, constructed the script using responses he received from young people on what they would like to but could never say to people in their lives.

Mr Mercer said he was first drawn to Haehnael through another work by him, ironically entitled “15 Reasons not to be in a Play”.

“He doesn’t really write straight-up,” Mr Mercer said.

“So I was really intrigued to do something by him.

“One of the funnier things is that he describes himself as a forty-something-year-old, two hundred pound, balding director, yet the script calls on him to be played by a teenage girl.”

After deferring his Bachelor of Arts degree at Flinders University in Adelaide, Mr Mercer said that it was a “great opportunity” to direct his own play in Broken Hill.

A re-invigorated theatre in Broken Hill was important, he said.

“It’s an area of interest. A lot of kids complain about having nothing to do around town and this is an outlet for them.

“It produces opportunities for kids wanting to get into acting.”

The show incorporates different types of the arts including dancing and a few songs and even visual art.

“It directly and indirectly relates with visual arts. We are using artwork from Willyama High School as a backdrop,” Mr Mercer said.

His production features a cast of eight, aged from 13 to 28.

They have been working on the performance for three months and say it won’t disappoint.

“I thought I’d better not give everything away,” Mr Mercer said. 

A total of four performances will be held - 7.30pm on Saturday, October 22 and October 29 and at 2pm on Sunday, October 23 and October 30. 

Tickets cost $8 per adult and $5 for concession and children.


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