True Minds is a hilarious new play from the pen of critically acclaimed playwright, Joanna Murray-Smith with the World premier coming to The Sumner later this month.
Melbourne based playwright Murray-Smith has written a corker of a play combining a clever dab of wit with intelligence and pathos. Her other works included: Honour, Rapture, Bombshells, Nightfall, Redemption, Love Child, Flame, Female of the Species and her amazing Songs For Nobodies.
This tale resides on a simple premise – meeting the future in-laws but things are not that simple as Daisy Grayson soon discovers upon meeting her fiancés mother who is dubbed the conservative Iron lady. Daisy also has her hands full with her uninhibited left-wing parents, one half of which is played by the very versatile and very funny performer Genevieve Morris who says that for her the themes in this play are – Two Worlds colliding, Being true to ones self, Acceptance, Alcohol, and Girrafes. "Intrigued? You should be," she quips. Morris plays Tracy Grayson who, she explains, has some quite left of centre ideas and quite frankly is something of a Cougar!! "Clearly I've been type cast possibly due to the effects I have on younger men!! Ah, what can you do?"
Morris may well be remembered for her work on the 2003 comedy series Comedy Inc, as well as other iconic TV shows, but she has had a stage career since the early 90's. More recently she has made a bank ad really, really funny with her Barbara the Bank Manager character – so comedienne or actor? "Well I'm labelled a Comedienne but have never done a stand up gig," she quips again. "I accept that I'm a funny person, I'm an improviser, an MC, and I'm cast in lots of comic roles, but to me it's all performance. It's all about story telling. It's all about characters. It's about engaging with an audience. It's technique and discipline and refinement. If I can achieve 1 or 2 of these items in whichever performance I'm involved with… and no one dies… I'm happy!!!"
Morris tells me another story and I ponder hard about why she has never done stand up: "The acting bug bit me for the very first time in grade 6 in primary school when my friends and I put on a play for the class. I felt so ensconced in the role, and capable and alive during that performance. My grade 6 teacher Dorothy Crane said to me afterwards in front of everyone – "Genevieve, has anybody ever told you that you are fantastic actor?" I was 11 so… no. Nobody had of course. It was very sweet of her and whether it was true or not, I hung onto that sentence and the feeling I had whilst playing "Papa Bear" for a loooong time."
The play is directed by award winning Australian actor, writer and director Peter Houghton. Morris was offered the role because she had worked with Houghton on other projects. "So he is familiar with what I'm capable of (or not)," she says. However it was once she'd read the script that she really wanted to be a part of this play. "Joanna writes intelligent comedy and loves exposing characters flaws, eccentricities and inappropriate behaviour. That's right up my alley!!"
A huge draw card for Morris was also the fact that Louise Siversen had already been cast as Vivienne Fairfax. "We've worked together before and while she would never admit it, I know she adores working with me so I didn't want to let her down. She's fragile. Biggest challenge to date – not bursting out laughing at said Siversen during our time together on stage."
This will be the first interpretation of Joanna's play, so, says Morris, we will be creating the Blueprint if you like. It's always exciting and challenging working on a new script.
The audience will certainly be in for a hugely entertaining and funny theatre experience as Murray-Smith examines love and family relationships in her now trademark fashion. Says Morris: "I hope they take home a feeling of satisfaction that they've enjoyed a night at the Theatre. I hope they'll feel the heart and soul of the play as well as feeling like their jaws hurt from laughing!! And I hope they'll take home the feeling that they've seen some amazing younger faces on the MTC stage that are ones to watch!! (not mine clearly….younger I said)."
Venue: Southbank Theatre, The Sumner
Season dates: 25 April to 8 June 2013
Booking Details: Southbank Theatre Box Office
03 8688 0800 or mtc.com.au