It’s 1971, Young theatre director Lewis has just landed his first job straight out of university, staging a production of Mozart’s comic opera Così fan tutte. The cast are patients from a mental institution, none of whom can speak Italian… or sing.
Can this unlikely cohort, including an obsessive-compulsive, a manic depressive and a junkie, pull it off? Or will a patient with a penchant for pyromania spoil all the fun?
As Vietnam War protests rage outside and Lewis confronts the enormity of his task, he begins to realise the frightening and attractive power of madness, politics, theatre and love. As his life is touched by these extraordinary people, we learn, along with Lewis, that when chasing your dreams it helps to be a little crazy.
Loosely based on Nowra’s own experience at producing a play (Trial by Jury) at the Plenty Mental Hospital in suburban Melbourne, COSI is a poignant look at life through the eyes of patients at an insane asylum, and an hilarious take on the madness of creative endeavour and the chaotic terror of getting up there and making a fool of yourself.
Louis Nowra is one of Australia’s best-loved playwrights. He is the author of such plays as Inner Voices, Visions, Inside The Island, Sunrise, The Golden Age, Capricornia, Byzantine Flowers, Summer of the Aliens, Radiance, The Temple, Crow, The Incorruptible, The Jungle, The Language of the Gods and The Boyce Trilogy.
Some of his radio plays include Albert Names Edward, The Song Room, Sydney, The Divine Hammer, Far North, Jez and The Light Of Darkness. He wrote the telemovies Displaced Persons, Hunger and The Lizard King plus created the TV series The Last Resort and The Straits.
His screen credits include Map Of The Human Heart, Heaven’s Burning, The Matchmaker, Radiance, K-19: The Widowmaker and Black and White. Writing the screenplay based on the play, Cosi was made into a film in 1996 with an all-star cast including Ben Mendelsohn, Barry Otto, Toni Collette and Jacki Weaver.
Director: Mark Doggett Featuring: Kate Allnutt, Kate Bindley, Belinda Campbell, Matthew Dorning, Josiah Lulham, Colin Morley, Jennifer Piper, David Price and Tammy Weller
Bluestone Church Arts Space, 8 Hyde Street, Footscray
Season: 26 November – 6 December 2014
For more information, visit: www.westindependenttheatre.com for details.
Image: courtesy of West Independent Theatre