By Luke Voogt
Anglesea’s Iris Walshe-Howling was “thrilled” when she received the script for playwright Sandy Fairthorn’s most successful play, The Savages of Wirramai.
“Sandy wanted it performed in this area because she lives on the Surf Coast,” she said.
Walshe-Howling will direct the play when it comes to Geelong West for the first time in a three-week run starting on Friday 28 April.
“This is my first foray into the Woodbin Theatre Company,” the Anglesea Performing Arts director said.
“We submitted the script earlier this year and it was one of the plays they’ve chosen to perform.”
Walshe-Howling saw the play when it debuted at iconic independent Carlton theatre La Mama in 2015.
“I fell in love with the text,” she said.
“I’ve seen Sandy’s work before and I thought this piece was just so beautifully put together. It’s a very deeply emotional piece looking at family dynamics.”
The play begins when members of the Savage family meet at their Wirramai farm for their parents’ anniversary on a sweltering Anzac Day eve.
“The father is a Vietnam veteran with all the baggage that that involves,” Walshe-Howling said.
“He is obviously struggling with PTSD as a lot of Vietnam veterans have.”
Fraught with undisclosed truths, the family dynamics are played out under the blades of recently installed wind turbines as a violent storm brews overhead.
Walshe-Howling described the play as challenging as a director and for its all-Geelong cast.
“But (it’s) a wonderful challenge because it gives you such a wonderful scope of emotions to explore.”
The play features the acting talents of Philip Besancon, Lisa Berry, Amber Connor, Kethly Hemsworth, Stacy Carmichael and Tom Bartle.