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August 6, 2007 | by  | in Theatre | [ssba]

The Cape

Circa finally plans to put its $20 for under 25’s policy into practice by providing us with a play under 25’s might actually want to see. Vivienne Plum’s The Cape, set in 1994, tells the story of four 18 year olds, post high school, on a road trip to Cape Reinga, and on the road to adulthood.

I sat down with Victoria University students Rawiri Jobe and Leon Wadham to discuss their professional debut as actors.

Rawiri plays Arthur “a 17 year old drug dealer” who “rolls a joint in every scene”. Arthur’s the leader of the group and a man of few words. I chose not to enquire about possible typecasting, remembering Rawiri’s side-splitting performance as drunkard Sir Toby Belch in the acclaimed production of Twelfth Night at Studio 77 earlier this year.

Leon plays Jordan, the newbie to the group, and when pressed for details about his character was careful not to give away plot details, being suitably vague; “he’s nice”, “he dresses well” adds Rawiri. Despite being just out of high school, Leon recently appeared in The Henchman for Young and Hungry and received an honourable mention as the Stand Out Performer for his role in Brain Power in the Fringe Festival 07. Rounding out the quartet are Eli Kent (as “crazy fuck” Eb) and Michael Whalley (as “cool dude” Mo) So what’s it about? Leon: “it’s about how those friendships will change, and wether they’ll all remain together at university, how friendships survive and how they change over time”. And that’s something the boys relate to, which has come through in the rehearsal process, Rawiri: “Because they’re young guys, I think it’s important that we [as actors] relate to that youth as well….“It’s a lot of fun, we’ve put a lot of our own stuff into the script as well, which has kept it quite fresh”.

Despite rehearsing six days a week, and Rawiri coping with university as well, Rawiri notes, “It’s so much fun, it’s hard to believe that we’re having so much fun, whilst still working”. Leon agreed: “I’m amazed at how quickly the time has gone by” The fun atmosphere is in part down to their director Conrad Newport (Nui Sila, King and Country), “Conrad’s really cool, he gives us as much shit as what we give him” (Rawiri).

Although The Cape is written by an older woman, the guys absolutely agreed that she’d captured the nuances of how young people spoke in 1994. On meeting Plumb, Leon had this to say, “I couldn’t believe that something so real, so natural could come from someone so…different [to the characters]”

However, they definitely noted the differences between now and 1994. Rawiri: “Things have changed so much since 1994 – cell phones, having more than four friends…” Leon was more philosophical, “The trip, they’re just together in this car the whole way up, they can’t escape from each other. Nowadays you can put your iPod in, get out your cell phone; you don’t have to engage with people”.

And their hopes for the season? Rawiri and Leon both feel the show is made for young people as they will get all of the humour; “It’s something completely different” compared to previous Circa productions. They’re hopeful that if young people come along, then it’ll open the door for other productions aimed at young people. If you venture outside BATS for one production this year, The Cape should be it.

Written by Vivienne Plumb
Directed by Conrad Newport
Circa Two, August 4 – September 1
SUB 25’s $20.


About the Author ()

Well hello there. Eleanor was the Theatre Editor in 2007, now she writes the Women's Column and just generally minces about the Salient office. Eleanor is currently an Honours student in Theatre (with a touch of gender). She also has a BCA in Marketing but she tries to keep that on the d-low (embarrassing, because she loves academic integrity and also perpetuating the myth that she's a tad bohemian). If you've got a gender agenda, woo her by taking her a BYO Malaysian. She lies, if you show any interest at all she'll probably tackle you in the street and force you to write a column.

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