A Quick Chat with Melissa Cantwell, Director of New Theatre Show Blink
If you're looking for something different to do this Winter, you could do far worse than check out an intriguing drama piece known as Blink that will see its WA debut this month. This beloved script was written by British playwright Phil Porter, and will be brought to life for a debut WA performance by troupe The Kabuki Drop. The play will star acclaimed and beloved duo Andrea Gibbs and Sean Walsh, and was commissioned by the City of Perth for the Winter Arts Season. Blink will be taking over 266 William Street in Northbridge; an empty space that previously held the Australian Writer’s Guild WA branch. We were privileged enough to have a quick chat with creative director Melissa Cantwell.
What initially drew you to the script of Blink when Andrea Gibbs and Sean Walsh approached you with it?
The characters are incredibly endearing and honest, and Phil Porter’s writing draws you into their off-beat world in a way that is both charming and unexpectedly moving.
This will be the WA premiere of the play, what can Perth audiences expect?
They can expect to enter the idiosyncratic world of Sophie and Jonah as they find one another, against the odds, in an intimate and humorous storytelling piece that is filled with subtlety and delightful revelations.
Andrea Gibbs and Sean Walsh are veterans of the theatre scene, what have they been like to work with and what have they brought to their respective characters?
Andrea and Sean are perfectly cast. Their long history of collaboration and friendship brings a depth and sincerity to the work that has provided the perfect foundations for bringing this story of connection and isolation to life. The rehearsal process has been exploratory and engaging, and huge amounts of fun.
You’ve directed a range of shows yourself, what’s been different for you this time? What has stood out for you?
I’ve loved returning to the business of directing a dramatic work for two actors. There is a real depth of discovery in the process of staging an entire relationship, and the opportunity to create a commissioned production for the City of Perth in a new space has been a really important, and rewarding element of the piece.
How would you describe your own directorial style?
I would describe my style as humanist and minimalist. I am drawn to characters who exist on the edges of society, and to works that unsettle our notions of normalcy.
Blink will be taking on an untapped performance space. What challenges and rewards has the venue thrown at you?
The rewards have far outweighed the challenges, as we have a sensational design team working on the piece. The production has been designed specially for the site, and for this season. It’s wonderful to work in a new venue, and we are really looking forward to welcoming people into the space and sharing what we have created in there.
Blink runs from July 24-29 at 266 William St Northbridge, grab your tickets HERE.