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CAST EXPERIENCES

Previous cast and crew share their experiences here.

ASSISTANT DIRECTOR

Debbie Taylor, Beenleigh Theatre Group (Original Production)

A heartfelt script with true depth and truth that is rarely found in new works.  This play has the ability to make you laugh and appreciate that life is still happening and attitudes are what makes the journey, not the disease.  'Powerfully Fragile' gave insights and shared moments in one person's journey that touched the audiences without being overpowering and I know that the cast and crew all had a special connection with this show.  Any crew that chooses to put this show together and present it on their stage will forever have a piece of the wonderfully talented playwright in their hearts and minds and that is the magic of theatre. 

ACTRESS" CHARACTER 'ONE'

Phillipa Bowe, Original Production Cast Member

Q:  Could you relate to your character?  I was very fortunate to have been in the audience of the first reading of “Powerfully Fragile” months before I had any notion I would be involved as an actress.  I remember being moved by the honesty of the piece, the words reverberated within me and stayed with me.  This surprised me as up until that time I had never had any connection to Breast Cancer – no friends, no family members have had the disease and I have always had good health. Yet, this play touched me because the words came from a place of truth, through Briohne and her family and friends “lived” experience of cancer.  

When I was cast as “One” I was excited to play such a complex character but also scared.  How could I bring truth to the writer’s words?  Then I talked to Briohne as she share some of her experiences, and I started to think in terms of what is important to me:- my family, my friends, my work, my independence.  What would it mean if they were threatened – threatened by Cancer?  I also started to think about my mum and her fight with chronic disease, in her case it was chronic heart failure, and her death at 60, and I could see her life’s journey reflected in “Ones” journey.  

Q:  What Challenges did the project bring to you?  I felt a great responsibility to “getting this right” of being authentic to the truth of Briohne’s text.  This play connects with so many people and reflects the realities of their lives.  As I performed I could hear people crying in the audience – that was very powerful and confronting.  Touring with the play “One” stayed with me, for months, even off stage.   She made me contemplate my own life.  This wasn’t always easy but on reflection I am so grateful.  If you have the opportunity to play “One” grab it with both hands.

Q:  What advice would you give to someone to play this role?  Don’t be overwhelmed by the subject matter – find the quirky funny elements of “One”.  She is physically fighting against cancer but she is also fighting to still be herself – to retain her wonderfully unique spirit.  

ACTRESS: CHARACTER 'TWO'

Renee Hood, Original Production Cast Member

Q:  Could you relate to your character? 'Two' was instantly relatable to me.  She's the kind of woman who worries way too much and knows how to look after others better than she knows how to look after herself.  At the time of auditioning and being a part of this show, she was very relatable to me and what I was going through in my life. Also, ‘Two’ has a husband who doesn’t treat her right. While I have never been married, I have had long-term relationships where I didn’t listen to the people around me telling me that my partner was not the right man for me. It’s pretty special to play a character who teaches you something about your own life.

Q:  What challenges did the project bring to you?  Playing 'Two' in 'Powerfully Fragile' was really exciting.  It was the first time that I had been in a touring performance.  We visited lots of locations and were able to share this story with so many people.  From the very first reading of the script with the rest of the cast, it was obvious that the show was going to be amazing.   The biggest challenge for me was having the confidence to portray this role in an honest and authentic way. I was definitely inspired by my fellow cast mates to take on this challenge and to learn from their experiences in theatre and performance.

Q: What advice would you give to someone to play this role?  To someone playing the role of ‘Two’, I would say the best way to start is to write beside each line what’s going on in her head at that moment. She puts on such a brave face most of the time, but there should be a hint of the pain and anxiety she’s feeling underneath. Look for the moments when she lets her guard down, reveals her insecurities and then with a snap she puts that mask right back on again.  ' Two’ is so blinded by what she believes is love that she doesn’t want to see the truth. The irony is that she is so compassionate and loving towards all the other characters and yet she doesn’t show that love to herself. All of the characters go through a transformation in this story and while ‘Two’ is still clutching to the hope that she will mend her relationship with her husband, you see a little glimpse that maybe she is becoming stronger and more self-assured.

ACTOR: CHARACTER 'MAN'

Mark Reynolds, Original Production Cast Member

Q: Could you relate to your character?    I could relate to the role of 'Man'.  'Man' is a quiet character, trying to stay strong to support his wife.  He is going through every moment of this sad journey with his wife but is also struggling with his own emotions and feelings that he tries to protect his wife from by keeping it all bottled up.  Like a lot of men he feels the stigma that he must be brave, he must not show vulnerability to his wife so he suffers in silence.  

Q:  What challenges did the project bring to you?  The biggest challenge of this project was being able to show emotion and vulnerability of the character.  Even though 'Man' is trying to stay strong in front of his wife, in private his real feelings come pouring out.  Harnessing those emotions and portraying them to an audience in a convincing manner was challenging.  During many of the performances I could hear audience members sobbing as 'Man' bared all his emotions.  This play is a powerful insight into how cancer touches upon the lives of all the people who are connected with the person battling cancer.  

Q:  What advice would you give to someone to play this role?  The role of 'Man' is a minor part with a major impact.  Don't be afraid to show the emotion you feel. 'Man' is on his own journey as he deals with what is happening with his wife.  Don't under-estimate the importance of the character and the journey he is on.  

ACTRESS: CHARACTER 'THREE'

Jermia Turner, Original Production Cast Member

Q: Could you relate to your character?    I could.  I think that each of the characters within the play are very real and human characters and we all exhibit traits within each of them.  'Three' is the character that is the overly positive friend who seems to think that positivity is all you need to get through any tough situation.  Caught up in her own issues at home, she unintentionally burdens the friend she is trying to support which, although we don't like to admit it, I think we've all accidentally been a little too self indulgent at least once.

Q:  What challenges did the project bring to you?  I think the biggest challenge within the play is that it brings the reality of cancer and it's absolute destruction to the forefront of your everyday thoughts.  It's definitely not a play that you do and then just forget about and move on.  It really impacts you and when you're living a character for every single rehearsal, every single show for months and months; completely dedicating your life to this ugly and confronting truth.  It's very confronting and I probably will continue to struggle with the reality.  I do though, think that this project is such a unique and beautiful way to showcase such an evil.

Q:  What advice would you give to someone to play this role?  My biggest piece of advice is not to judge the character but to find the human elements of her.  It's easy to stand back and say "how could she be so selfish and only think about herself whilst her friend is so sick!"  But there's so much more to, not only 'Three' but to all of the characters.  Understand her personal struggles between herself and her husband.  Understand the relationship and closeness between her and 'One'.  Find her highs and lows - just explore her and build her relationships.  'Three' is a beautiful character and having the chance to perform such an important piece of theatre is an absolute gift and an opportunity that doesn't come around very often.  Treat the material and the character with the respect that it deserves and you'll reap amazing benefits, not only in your portrayal of your character but in fantastic and moving experiences that you'll share and create for yourself and others. 

ACTRESS: CHARACTER 'FOUR'

Linda Hall, Original Production Cast Member

Q: Could you relate to your character?  I could relate to 'Four' as I used to know someone very similar.  I think a lot of people have a 'Four' in their lives.

Q:  What challenges did the project bring to you?  Playing such a self-centred character that was at the same time funny when the subject was the opposite of funny.  Making my character believable and relatable without offending was a bit tricky.  The responses from personal guests were all positive.  I got comments such as "What an amazing story" and "So well done".  It made people think and feel which is what we wanted.  A few people said it was a great teaching tool and should be taken to groups and schools.  For me personally, I had some people say they loved my character and were glad some humour was involved - which for them made the play more real. 

Q:  What advice would you give to someone who is to play this role?  My advice is to not hold back.  Commit to the 'not so nice' side of 'Four'.  Be physical - act with your face as well as your voice.  The audience watch 'Four' very closely.  Enjoy the role - she is wonderful to play. 

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