Writer Melita Rowston and Director Lucinda Gleeson were a part of Queen Street Studio’s Off the Shelf program in 2009, facilitated by Augusta Supple, developing the early stages of the play Crushed. Three years later, Chester Productions were successful in receiving a Performing Arts Residency at QSS to provide further development and rehearsal space for the play, which opens tonight at the New Theatre.
In this guest blog, actor Jeremy Waters, who plays Jason in Crushed, shares a spooky story about their time in the Studio 14 space…
“Actors can be a superstitious bunch. Curses, ghosts and rituals carry a lot of currency within the board-treading fraternity. We’re attuned to any ‘signs’ that shape our theatrical destinies. I think the ephemeral nature of theatre encourages this. It makes sense that strange parts of our universe can be stirred as we go about the business of telling stories.
While rehearsing Melita Rowston’s brilliant new play Crushed as part of a Queen Street Studio residency, Sean Barker, Lucy Miller and I were diligently working through some of the complexities of the play when something occurred that left us all open-mouthed…
There’s a strong balloon motif that runs through the play – literally and figuratively. So, there we were, three actors alone in the big Studio 14 space working on a scene that centres around this motif. We were actually doing work. Really. We were. I was offering a piece of blinding insight towards this crucial scene – really, I was, when I saw a flash of colour in the corner of my eye and Stone The Flamin’ Crows Elsa! a cheeky clutch of helium balloons hovered mid-air between Sean and me. They must have been clinging to the high ceiling then deflated and floated down while we gabbed about the play.
After the requisite ‘Whooooahs’ and ‘What the…s,’ we agreed this was a sign from the theatrical powers that be, a quiet little nudge to let us know that we were not alone as we pushed off from land in the good ship Crushed…
When our esteemed director Lucinda Gleeson returned from a production meeting, she was suitably impressed by the cool shit we had seen. Being of our ilk, she quickly recognised ‘The Happening’ for what it was. So, to ensure our director caught a whiff of its presence, our friendly spirit let one last balloon float down and nestle gently at her feet.
Call me crazy (it’s been done) but this was an intervention. We now know that the Crushed team are not alone as we embark on this significant theatrical journey.”
‘And you, a would be player too
Will give the angry ghosts their due
Who threw their voices far as doom
Greatly, in a little room.’
World premiere, presented by Chester Productions, in association with NEW THEATRE / The Spare Room 2012
By Melita Rowston
In the summer of 1988, ‘Sunny Girl’ Susie turned sweet sixteen. Her boyfriend Jason gave her a Poison t-shirt, her best friend Kelly gave her a name-necklace, and Kelly’s boyfriend Dazza gave her a handful of pills.
That night Susie Greene disappeared and was never seen again.
Twenty-two years later, the blood splattered t-shirt of the missing schoolgirl is unearthed in the scrub and Jason, Kelly and Dazza are brought back together for the bleakest of high school reunions. As the police uncover more evidence, Susie’s oldest friends are forced to confront their memories of a night they’d hoped to leave buried in their adolescence forever.
CRUSHED is a darkly humorous murder mystery/whodunit, a fast-paced, acerbic Gen X ride that drags the ‘lost child’ of Australian myth into the 21st century. This daring and imaginative play captures the spirit of the 80s with ironic hindsight and explores the sinister violence that lurks beneath the sun-bleached façade of Australia’s ‘she’ll be right’ culture.
Directed by Lucinda Gleeson
Produced by Jennifer Campbell for Chester Productions
Set and Costume Designer Eliza McLean
Lighting Designer Richard Whitehouse
Sound Designer Simon Choi
Dramaturg Erin Thomas
Performed by Sean Barker, Lucy Miller & Jeremy Waters
16 May–9 June
Tuesday–Saturday 8pm, Sunday 5pm
$25 concession, groups (10+)
$15 previews Wednesday 16 & Thursday 17 May
$17 student rush
Cheap Tuesdays (‘Pay What You Can’ $10 min)
New Theatre 542 King Street Newtown
If you’d like to score tix to Crushed tomorrow night at the New Theatre, email through to firstname.lastname@example.org with QUEEN ST STUDIO COMP as the subject line.