February 2nd, 2024Mayhem for Megan, back on the boards
Long-time Daylesford resident Megan Jones whoops for joy as she tells of at last becoming a poster girl. At 70.
She’s on the poster for a new play by Hepburn’s Adam Fawcett. Called Every Lovely Terrible Thing, he says it is two acts of family mayhem , funny, chaotic, surprising, with ghosts and magic realism.
A prodigal daughter returns to the family home after 10 years with a secret that threatens to blow everyone up. It even has Megan bursting out of a coffin to sing Don’t Rain on My Parade.
Four years in the writing, the play is co-commissioned by Lab Kelpie, the biggest and first for the 12-year-old company since being based here.
“This shows the strength of independent artists and companies working in regional Victoria who can take a high-quality work like this and stand next to our metropolitan contemporaries.,” Adam says.
Megan’s last stage appearance was 15 years ago in a play called The Prostitute. Amazingly, she got the role after a woman asked her, while she was sitting in the foyer of the North Melbourne Arts Hub, whether she was an actor.
Her record could scarcely be more impressive: besides acting, she is a theatre and circus director, working for 40 years with a wide range of independent artists, companies and organisations, creating more than 80 original theatre shows and 20 main stage circus shows.
Trained with master teachers in London and Moscow, she founded Machination Theatre Ensemble which over the six years of its existence was picked from 60 companies to be on the VCE Drama playlist, being awarded for its contribution.
Adam, 41, says he started writing the play before meeting Megan. “When I got stuck, I went to her, and she was a mentor and gave me encouragement.”
In spite of the seeming toughness of the plot, he stresses that it is “not trauma porn”.
A third play by Adam, Men on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, is a finalist in the 2024 Midsumma Queer Playwriting Award, while a work of prose fiction, Black Rainbow, is a finalist in a new writing award, the Pearl Prize for 750-word pieces to be announced next month.
For her part, Megan says, “He is original in his approach, well balanced and his work is unique because I’ve never seen this topic dealt with in this way. Some people might have a cry here and there, but there’s a lot of comedy.”
Another local involved is costume designer Martelle Hunt, whose credits extend from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe to Shakespeare and musicals. The birth of this play may lead to fresh projects, such as theatre classes.
Every Lovely Terrible Thing is on at Theatre Works, St Kilda, from February 29 to March 16. Tickets available from theatreworks.com.au
Story & image: Kevin Childs