Cloudstreet

At the end of 2009, students at Tranby eagerly auditioned for the school production of 'Cloudstreet', a vast and intriguing story of Australia written by Tim Winton and adapted by Nick Enright and Justin Monjo. This play is an emotional and heart-warming story of two families brought together by fate and chance. They tackle all the usual challenges of family life, mixed with some extra challenges and hardships that are brought upon them by the context of the time.

The students undertook this massive task with excitement and professionalism. The auditions produced many surprises and some students gained roles that they weren't expecting, but the end result was definitely a well-cast production. Every student who had a part, no matter how big or small, played a pivotal role in the show and they delivered with conviction.

A production of any type is always affected by mishaps and challenges along the way - 8 months of rehearsals, countless hours of free time given up (including school holidays), students dropping out of roles, students getting sick, birthdays, fights, arguments, frustration and tears. However, through all this, all cast members stayed focused and committed and most importantly they stuck by my side in order to get the production onto the stage. And, of course with the frustrating times we also had laughter, friendships, jokes, conversations, cakes, muffins, savoury scrolls and lots and lots of chocolate and hot chips! These are always the aspects of the production that make it so enjoyable and memorable.

The play was 3 hours long and initially this caused a bit of worry as to whether audiences would be kept entertained for this long. It became the biggest challenge for the students involved and caused them to work hard on characterisation and stage presence. They had to get the audience to live the story with them and through their characters. This is a big ask for even the most professional actors and, once again, these students took this challenge head on and met it with determination and dedication. There were also many mature themes in the play that were confronting for the students. This was a difficult aspect of the play for them to approach in the acting and for me in the direction of those scenes. The students involved approached these tasks with the same professionalism and commitment that I have seen with professional actors.

Many students were cast in roles that were the complete opposite to them as people. This also caused many confrontational moments as they battled to act the parts in a way that would do the story justice. In the end, everyone who saw the play agreed whole-heartedly that it was a triumph for the all the cast, the school and myself. We received many emails full of praise and commendation for the cast and for the College as a whole. It is definitely an experience that will stay with all involved for years to come and joins the ranks of the school productions that set a standard for Performing Arts at Tranby College.

Tyson Walton-Cherrie, Drama