Presented by Hoy Polloy and Act-O-Matic 3000, Meeka is the premiere of playwright Dan Walls’ dramatic reimagining of a strange but uniquely Australian true crime at fortyfivedownstairs from 3 February 2016.
One September morning in 2009 before recess, a school principal from outback West Australian town Meekatharra smashed an education department auditor’s head in with a hammer. A calculated attack to cover his tracks or self-defence in an argument gotten out of hand?
In the days leading up to the fight that left auditor Kevin de Souza with a fractured skull and life-threatening injuries, pressure builds. McDonald’s unorthodox bookkeeping and managerial style is questioned. The two suspicious fires that struck the school over two weeks take on a new light. Tensions rise amongst his isolated staff and loyalties are tested.
Country pragmatism versus city-based bureaucracy when the implications of McDonald’s leadership and the teacher’s complicity come to a head in Meeka – a new darkly comic drama written by Dan Walls and directed by Shaun Kingma.
Small time greed, corruption and power in a remote school send huge shock waves throughout the community, as the audience is invited to spend a night in Meekatharra and watch the characters stories and allegiances unravel before them.
“It’s just a gripping story that’s hard to believe – but essentially true,” says playwright Dan Walls. “I became fascinated by how this chain of events, these minor indiscretions with potentially small consequences could get out of control and lead to someone getting their head bashed in, almost killed, with a hammer on school property right before class starts.”
“It struck me as even more surreal because I was born and grew up in the town it happened in. The auditor says he was working on the audit on the day when out of nowhere, he was struck repeatedly from behind in an unprovoked and sustained attack. The principal claimed he acted in self-defence when the auditor attacked him after being challenged with the true purpose behind his arrival in town. It’s all very Fargo-esque!”
Produced in partnership between Hoy Polloy and Green Room Award winning company Act-O-Matic 3000, Meeka is another production from two independent theatre companies with a strong track record of staging Australian works, including; Rhonda is in Therapy and Killing Jeremy (Bridgette Burton), The Real Thring (Barry Dickins), The Return (Reg Cribb), The Modern International Dead (Damien Millar), and Bedtime for Bastards (Van Badham).
Director: Shaun Kingma Featuring: Keith Brockett, Christina Costigan, Liam Gillespie, Kelly Nash, Claire Pearson & Kevin Summers Sound Design & Composition: Craig Tracy Lighting Design: Jason Bovaird Playwright: Dan Walls Dramaturgy: Bridgette Burton Development: Wayne Pearn Assistant Director: Nadia Tracy
fortyfivedownstairs, 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
Season: 4 – 14 February 2016 (preview: 3 February)
Bookings: (03) 9662 9966 or online at: www.fortyfivedownstairs.com
For more information, visit: www.actomatic3000.blogspot.com.au for details.
Image: Cast of Meeka – photo by Dan Walls