Five stories and fifteen lives tangle together in turmoil.
Students attending LaTrobe University’s Theatre and Drama Program are at present busily preparing for their presentation of Ross Mueller’s Colosseum. First performed at St Martin’s Youth Theatre in 2001, Colosseum weaves together the lives and stories of disparate teens and young adults in the grit of Melbourne at the turn of the millennium.
I spoke with actor Evan Mulholland and Director Brentton Peacock about their journey both as drama students and hands on participants in creating a piece of living art.
How much hands on responsibility do the final year drama student have in regard to delegating: production team, director, actors?
Brentton Peacock: Our production of Colosseum is completely run by 3rd year students of LaTrobe Uni. Before the semester starts we have a meeting in regards to what play we would like to produce and who would like the opportunity to direct. I was the sole student volunteering to direct, so I was elected to run the rehearsals and organize schedules. It was up to me to cast the students for each character and during our first meeting/rehearsal we allocated “minors” to each student. Apart from acting in the play each student needs to minor in another element of theatre, where it may be costumes, or props, or marketing, or set-design. So we are the entire production team and we are given a budget by the university to put the play together. Apart from being the director of the play I am also cast as Ben, a 25 year old dodgy business salesman/importer, who wants more out of life.
Was there an audition process for the actors involved in this play?
Brentton Peacock: As mentioned above, I cast each student for the roles. Before the play is selected, we (the students) are already enrolled in this class. After we all read the play for the first time, I did have in mind who I wanted to cast for each character.
Briefly describe your journey through the Latrobe Drama Course.
Brentton Peacock: Since first year of uni, I have been enrolled in most of the drama classes available. A few of the classes that I have done during my 3 years, include Australian Drama, Shakespeare in Performance, Theatre Production, and Modern Drama (which we focused a lot on Chekhov and Ibsen). Last semester for Theatre Production we produced Chekhov’s The Seagull, in which the faculty hired an outside director for the class. I have even done a class called Persuasive Public Speaking. And now, in my final year I am directing 3rd Year Production, in which we are performing Collosseum.
Briefly describe your role within the production?
Evan Mulholland: I have two roles within the play, the first being a 25 year old importer Liam, tireless in attempts at get rich quick schemes which leads him to accidently getting involved in an illegal drug trafficking ring. My other role I have found myself extremely attached to, he is a 16 year old attention seeking loner kid called Matt, who is obsessed with the musical West Side Story so much so that he thinks he is one of the Jets.
Looking towards your future dramatic arts aspirations – Where to from here for you?
From what started out as a hobby quickly turns into an obsession. Drama and Theatre has always been a great passion of mine, so I hope to be able to pass my knowledge on to others one day by becoming a Teacher. The life experiences you gain by being in a production like this is as invaluable as what you learn along the way. I am also very passionate about performing and producing quality amateur theatre, I am the current President of ARC Theatre Company, the Committee and I are in pre-production for our 2011 July musical of Grease.
Latrobe University Theatre and Drama Programme is proud to present Colosseum a play by Ross Mueller: