Tasmanian playwright Finegan Kruckemeyer has penned a story so incredibly large that it encompasses a universe and beyond. The Boy at the Edge of Everything is Simon Ives, a boy who longs to just be, and lives at the farthest point of the universe, then, one day, he is rocketed into space where worlds collide and life, (and everything really) will never be the same again.
Matt Furlani plays the fabulous role of the Boy at the Edge of Everything. For Furlani it was a chance he grabbed with both hands.
“My agent sent me the audition scenes and asked if I wanted to try out for it. Being that it was at MTC, I jumped at the chance,” he says. “The initial appeal was the contrast between the problems The Boy faces – such as his anxiety, self-imposed isolation and neurosis – and the cosmic imagery of his environment and the way the language was teased and stretched into evoking it on the page. The fact it was written by a fellow Tasmanian didn’t hurt either! ”
The play is an imaginative journey for young people, and families, and deals with really important these that young people will relate to und understand. Says Furlani: “The play deals with many issues that young people in primary/early high school encounter; such as social isolation, anxiety, the pressure of living up to other’s expectations and the sense of being overwhelmed by life’s demands. It’s a really accurate depiction of that unique part of our lives where we’re not children anymore but not really teenagers either, and others decide how we spend almost all of our time. It’s easy to see how someone at that age could get overwhelmed very quickly.”
Kruckemeyer’s Boy keeps to the schedule, and it is a hectic one at that – music lessons, sports lesson, activities and homework – he really just longs for some space. Furlani describes him as hyper-energetic, incredibly curious and utterly inexperienced at interacting with real people. “We definitely share a love of books and music. As for a quality of his I’d like to have, it would be his depth of knowledge on a huge range of subjects. For me, he’s the classic definition of a polymath: someone who’s interested in everything and nothing else.”
This is a play that guarantees to bring great joy to the young and the young at heart. It is a play that Kruckemeyer first imagined beneath a mountain in Tasmania and from there grew to encompass a tour of the US. It is an extraterrestrial tale but a human one!
Furlani explains that there are some great scenes where Simon, the boy from Earth, and his character team up for what can only be described as a play date imagined by George Lucas. “It’s epic, cosmic and really fun to perform. Another of my favourite moments is how we use really ingenious practical effects and illusion to create the outer space imagery in the story – no CGI required.”
Furlani graduated from the VCA in 2009 and since then has been working the theatre circuit – MKA, CUB Malthouse, The Artisan Collective, to name a few. His most recent gig was a 6 month national tour of Elizabeth Coleman’s It’s My party and I’ll Die if I Want to. Furlani tells me his favourite role to date was a film role earlier this year where he played a character that was the complete opposite of The Boy. “He was big, loud, crude, outrageous and chaotic. It was a real pleasure to sweep into a scene and disrupt the other character’s peaceful lives. Strangely therapeutic.” While there are still so many roles to play, Furlani’s dream role is Richard III – “for my money still the most charming and devious anti-hero in English literature.”
Drama aside, Furlani is also an experienced and accomplished voice-over artist. He has always been fascinated with the voice…” as a kid I was always making up characters and radio plays on tape recorders. My agency helped me to make a demo and I’ve been doing it for the last five years. In this business you have to be versatile. I love the challenge of communicating everything purely through the voice, as well as the variety of work there is for VO artists. No matter how advanced technology and advertising becomes, nothing communicates a message more effectively than a human voice.”
The Boy at the Edge of Everything is a genuinely funny, heartfelt story about friendship and the pressures of preteen life. “Finegan tackles these issues in a really unique way and it doesn’t patronize the audience at all,” Furlani says. ” It’s filled with amazing outer space adventure, slapstick and wit. I know I would have loved a play like this when I was that age. See it now before Star Wars reuses all the ideas later this year.”
A great place to travel to over these school holidays!
The Boy at the Edge of Everything
September 23 – October 9