Leading into our Fringe Production of PressureLands, here are some thoughts from our Assistant Directory Kirby Taylor on her experience of the project…..

PressureLands is a meaningful play written by Alysha Herrmann, it is about two girls and a boy in year 12 and getting ready to go to uni. It talks about their life and how things don’t always go according to plan and how people change their minds. I am assistant director and it has been a pleasure working with the play and with the cast. James Herrmann (who plays as Jamie), Brianna Obst (who plays as Rachel) and Amelia Hoffman (who plays as Lisa) have been an honor working with.  There’s also the lighting manager Nic Crouch and Alysha’s fiancé Nic, who have given the crew and cast quite a few laughs.

At first I wasn’t sure how this was going to go, and we spent more time doing physical activities and exercises rather than going over the lines, and I didn’t know what was going through Alysha’s head… but when does anyone know that? Jokes, don’t kill me Alysha… back then I was treated more like a cast member rather than a crew member and I participated in a lot of the physical activities and ran through some of the lines too. After about 5 rehearsals I finally got to sit on the side lines and help the cast learn their lines and get to put my say in about how the cast moved and acted on stage. That was when I started feeling more like an assistant director.

During rehearsal let’s just say that everyone has a bit of a wild side. We’d be rehearsing our lines and suddenly someone would say something and everyone would crack up into laughter for minutes on end. Sometimes we’d have ten to twenty minutes breaks but sometimes we’d go the whole night without a break, just constant rehearsing. It was tiring but it was definitely worth it. Because I live all the way in Renmark while rehearsals are at Waikerie, I didn’t get back home till 11:30pm and then after having a cup of instant noodles (my sorta tradition) I wouldn’t get to bed till 12am or 12:30am, then have to get up the next morning for school at 7:30am. I recall falling asleep in class a few times, but luckily I was never caught. If I thought I had things tough, Alysha had things a lot tougher, a lot more hectic. Based on stories she told me when she picked me up to take me to rehearsal, she wasn’t getting to bed till 2am or later.

Despite being the youngest, only 17, turning 18 in May, I sometimes felt like the eldest, though I think that was because my sense of humour is different from theirs. There have been good times and bad times during rehearsals and working with PressureLands, though I won’t go on about the bad times because it’s too much work and effort on something not even worth it.

Jamie is a character who really, desperately wants to get away, get out of his house, his life, get far away from his world in the country and start a new life, travelling around the world and being somewhere else, to a different place with a different door. Rachel is a character who has her parents controlling her future. She wants to stay in the Riverland with her boyfriend Matt and continue working at bowland and going to the Vines to party but her parents want her to go to uni. Lisa is a character who wants to go to uni so she can be different from her mum. She’s terrified by the thought of becoming her mum ideally, so she works really hard to go to uni so she can try and become more than her mother could, however her family is too poor and because of that, she is forced to take a gap year.

When I first auditioned for PressureLands I went for the role of Rachel, now that I look back at myself and this play, I’m glad I took up the position of Assistant Director, it suits me a lot better than a role as one of the cast. I get slight stage fright and I tend to be a bit of a scatterbrain, so I’d forget my lines onstage. I’m also not good at expressing emotions and feelings, so Rachel would be more monotone or act differently from how I wanted her to look. I believe that each character has been assigned the correct actor, they suit them so beautifully and they display them amazingly.

I’ll admit that at first I was questioning things and I wasn’t too sure this was all going to work out, but now that we’ve reached the end of our rehearsals, I can confidently say that PressureLands is a must see for all teenagers to give them an insight to how things will be for them during the transition from child to adult. It was show them that things don’t always work out and that plans do change regardless of looking like they are set in stone. Personally I rate PressureLands 4 out of 5 stars for it’s ability to get to the point, it’s insight and it’s abstract views.

There have been good and bad times and sometimes we cracked up laughing and sometimes I felt like strangling the cast, but that’s typical for these situations. PressureLands has been brought to you by Alysha Herrmann and the voices of over 600 young people in the Riverland and Mallee.

And here’s the gang at one of our rehearsals….

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