An interactive ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ story written by mother and son playwrights, Jennifer A. Kokai and Oliver Kokai-Means, National Theatre of Parramatta (NTofP) presents the Australian premiere of Zombie Thoughts at the Riverside Theatres, Parramatta from 27 May 2021.
During Zombie Thoughts, audiences have the power to decide which actor will play Sam or Pig, and which worlds they’ll enter. Sam’s deepest darkest fears come to life and this awesome best friends duo look out for each other in a often scary world.
“No two shows will be the same, as the audience influences the storytelling, deciding characters, enemies and even costuming,” said Director Warwick Dodrell.
In Australia, almost one in seven children struggle with anxiety. Zombie Thoughts offers a powerful tool to teach young people about Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD), in a fun and entertaining way.
Inspired by video games, like old school Mario or pacman, Zombie Thoughts takes us to worlds where the power of our mind controls our experience of the world , as Pig helps Sam through his fears.
After having his own experiences of GAD, Oliver created Zombie Thoughts when he was nine, specifically to speak to other young people. The production is a fun and engaging springboard for parents, families and teachers and anyone who has suffered with anxiety to begin a journey to recovery and acceptance.
Bringing the production to life on stage are the incredible talents of Sydney Theatre Award-winning Annie Stafford (New Theatre’s Stupid F*cking Bird), Jose Talite in his stage debut, and Monica Sayers (STC’s Chimerica and The Resistable Rise of Arturo Ui) under the direction of award-winning director Warrick Doddrell (Ensemble Theatre’s Kenny, Opera Australia’s La Traviata on Sydney Harbour).
“I’m so excited to work on the show. We’ve been developing and designing the work with an incredible team of artists and will finally get to put it all together to thrill audiences,” said Doddrell. “Wrapped up in a retro-theatrical, interactive fantasy adventure, where the audience actively participates to help our heroes overcome the big bad!”
NTofP has been working alongside internationally acclaimed educational games company, COGNISS to create a ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ app which will be launched alongside the production.
“We are so excited to be presenting this brilliant work, it’s by Oliver, when he was 9, and his Mum,” said National Theatre of Parramatta Executive Producer, Joanne Kee. “Because of that it’s so relatable for young audiences, touching on childhood fears like goblins and zombies and what would you do if your parents disappeared, then it offers practical ways on how you can overcome them.
“I am looking forward to seeing our audiences reactions to these scenarios,” added Kee.
Director: Warwick Doddrell Featuring: Monica Sayers, Annie Stafford, Jose Talite Set and Costume Designer: Isabella Andronos Lighting Designer: Jasmine Rizk Sound Designer: David Bergman Projection Designer: Xing Lin Production Manager: Cara Woods Stage Manager: Hannah Crane Playwrights: Jennifer A. Kokai, Oliver Kokai-Means
Lennox Theatre – Riverside Theatre, Corner Church and Market Streets, Parramatta
Season: 27 May – 5 June 2021
Information and Bookings: www.riversideparramatta.com.au
Image: Zombie Thoughts (supplied)