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a chat with socratis : the hope song

 

Thespian Socratis Otto doubles as director later this month and he is very excited. He is directing and appearing in the play THE HOPE SONG which has been written by Melbourne playwright Janet Brown.

Socratis began, “The play has received a few productions in Melbourne but this production, part of the Sydney Fringe Festival, is the Sydney premiere.

“I’m excited about Janet’s play because it goes to demystifying mental illness. The seven characters in the play suffer from  various degrees of mental illness. The  positive thing is that they are managing their struggles, and thriving, spirited and humorous in their awareness and disclosures”,

I asked Socratis to tell me a  bit about the background to  the play.

“The play has an interesting background. Janet Brown interviewed seven people with different mental health conditions. The ages varied from a 17 year old girl to a 57 year old man. She asked each person the same questions.  Janet changed the names of the people involved for privacy reasons.

“From their answers she has created a work of verbatim theatre. Each character and their world is fleshed out  The play darts between the characters as we get to know each of them more.

“One of the questions that each person is asked is what is their favourite song? That  will help to ‘identify’ them. There will be live music on stage and each song will, at least in part, be covered.”

I asked Socratis what are some of the things that he hopes people will take away from the play.

“I hope it subverts some general notions around mental illness. People with mental illness are just like you and me except that they have particular challenges.

“For those people who come who don’t have a mental illness the show  should be an illuminating experience. And for those who do,, I’m hoping that they will relate closely to the show.  With mental illness often comes withdrawal, isolation and that feeling of being alone. It will be good for them to see these people on stage, who are like them, and who lead interesting, fulfilling lives.”

Socratis has assembled a good cast for the production. He will be playing one of the characters and  will be joined by Emma Dalton, Chantelle Gardiner, Di Smith, Mel Day, Richard Cotter and Grant Lyndon.

Janet Brown’s THE HOPE SONG will play for six performances at the Flight Path Theatre, Hut 9, 142 Addison Road, Marrickville.  Performances are 18th to 20th September at 7pm, 21st September at 2pm and 7pm and 22nd September at 2pm.

Featured image- Richard Cotter with Emma Dalton  in ‘The Hope Song’

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