Roland Thring and The Year All His Christmases Came at Once writer/director Rod Ainsworth.
Roland Thring and The Year All His Christmases Came at Once writer/director Rod Ainsworth. Rob Barich

Bundy play makes Indie list

BUNDABERG playwright Rod Ainsworth has taken his story about a peculiar eight-year-old boy, obsessed with cardboard boxes, and broken into the Cairns Indie Season at JUTE Theatre.

It is the first time the selection panel for Indie has accepted an out-of-town entry.

Mr Ainsworth’s play, Roland Thring And The Year All His Christmases Came At Once, is built around a regional cast and crew, a conscious decision by the writer, director and producer.

"I’m always trying to develop emerging talents. It’s definitely something I sought from this play," he said.

"Being accepted was great news; it’s always amazing to get the opportunity for professional work."

The Indie season is usually a Cairns exclusive, but Mr Ainsworth, who has been based in Bundaberg for five years, decided it was time for some outside influence, and the panel agreed.

The play revolves around young Roland, who is played by Darwin actress Finn O’Branagain.

It explores his sheltered life and how he interacts in society, particularly after being struck by lightning early in the play.

His fascination with cardboard boxes is stimulated further when he discovers strange noises can be made every time he touches one.

The play follows Roland as he finds a connection with an elderly woman who has the same unique powers.

"I guess the play is about how he struggled to connect with the community — he is really in his shell — but then it’s about his growth," he said.

"People can take from it what they like. The main motivation for making the play was to provide an opportunity for the whole family to watch some professional theatre, not just a play under D block at school."

Mr Ainsworth was full of praise for what he coined "D-block" productions, but stressed that youth were lacking exposure to the full-scale theatre experience.

"People have asked me if it’s religious considering it is set the week before Christmas and, although the timing is deliberate, there is no religious message in it," he said.

Peter Matheson, one of the country’s most sought-after dramaturges (script editor-assessor) said of the play: "It is a clever and heart-warming play with a strong theatricality, a dark edge and a velvety centre. Its idiosyncratic humour, pace and core makes for great entertainment."

The play will run for four days in Cairns, before returning home for a string of performances between January 13-16 at Bundaberg’s Playhouse Theatre.



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