Tessa, 27, oozes sass as she wiggles her tail to tease the cat and steal its cheese. She plays several roles in the upcoming production of QUIRKY, including a village pickpocket, but the cheeky mouse is her favourite.
QUIRKY is the inaugural production by inclusive theatre ensemble Real and Diverse Theatre (RAD), supported by Centacare. It will run 14-16 July at QPAC.
The 26 performers come together every Thursday to rehearse under the watchful eye of famed Brisbane-based artist, performer and director Brian Lucas. Brian has choreographed QUIRKY and helped create the every-popular dance and movement program at Centacare’s HAND Social and Life Skills Hub in Wilston.
“I’m nervous but also excited,” said Tessa, who travels from Wynnum to rehearse with her friends in the lead up to the show’s opening.
QUIRKY came to life as an expression of the real experiences of the cast during the pandemic – a time when the usual ways of being and doing changed enormously. The hour-long production explores powerful themes of community, connection and responsibility.
Courtney is one of five Centacare support workers who walk alongside the cast to make sure they have everything they need to stay in character and perform their roles to the best of their ability.
Focus and dedication is the first thing you notice as they rehearse a key scene. The ensemble gathers in a circle to watch on, helplessly, as a bomb falls toward the earth. Jesse, 36, exercises incredible control as he moves slowly across the room and toward the floor to signal some kind of demise. Brian gently guides them and all eyes and ears are upon him as he teaches them to project fear using their bodies.
“It’s an incredible opportunity they have to work with Brian,” said Courtney.
“The drama program in its entirety is one of a kind. From street theatre to performing on stage at QPAC, these are extraordinary opportunities for people to build skills and confidence.
“Tessa is a prime example. She joined us a couple of years ago and was very shy. She didn’t know what she was capable of. Now she has a part-time job as an office assistant and a goal to win a Logie Award. She’s incredible.”
QUIRKY is a must see comic tragedy that tells beautiful and emotionally challenging stories of human connection. It features original music by Nicole Murphy, performed by the Queensland Symphony Orchestra.