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Thomas Weatherall’s play “Blue” explores the complexities of coming-of-age

Rhiannon Clarke -

The captivating play "Blue" delves into the complexities of a coming-of-age narrative, exploring themes of family dynamics, masculinity, grief, love, and the profound experience of loss.

As the protagonist, Mark, embarks on a journey of self-discovery, he finds solace in the act of writing letters to his mother, who is also a writer, in order to maintain their connection despite his departure from home.

Written by AACTA and Logie Awards winner, Kamilaroi man Thomas Weatherall, Blue is said to help encourage people to search for connection with others and oneself.

"Blue is, in its rawest form, a kind of unprescribed therapy," he said.

"Mark is not me, the story you are about to see is not my life, but more so a very personal fiction. If nothing else, I hope this play makes you talk to your friends and family, love each other, set boundaries, read better books, swim in the ocean, and listen to music constantly."

The play features actor and Wiradjuri man Callan Purcell who is known for his outstanding portrayal of Aaron Burr in the highly acclaimed international musical Hamilton.

Mr Purcell brings his talent to the forefront in Blue, as Mark, who receives a letter from his mother, bearing news that is too agonising to bear.

"I love how Thomas wrote this young man with such a burning desire to connect," he said.

"He shares the most fragile of things on his mind, in his heart. There's a rigour to the way he dances around the truth and at other times, dives into the belly of memories.

"I've never done a role like this before or one that sits so close to home."

Directed by Senior Artist for Bangarra Dance Theatre, Deborah Brown, with video design by David Bergman and set and lighting design by Jacob Nash and Chloe Ogilvie, Blue showcases the delicate and captivating essence of a young life embarking on a fresh journey.

The production shows the fragility and beauty of a young life at its new beginning, as his quest for solace, Mark turns to the vast ocean, a place that holds both his fondest memories and deepest sorrows.

State Theatre Company South Australia Artistic Director Mitchell Butel said he was drawn to the visceral writing and honesty Blue brings to the stage.

"This is a truly startling playwriting debut resulting in a work both tough and tender," Mr Butel said.

"I had already been a fan of Thomas's knockout acting prowess but have been bowled over to witness a piece of writing that contains such insights into family, purpose and love. I know Ruth MacKenzie, AD of the Adelaide Festival feels the same.

We are so thrilled to be bringing this work to Adelaide as part of the Festival and I know audiences will be enraptured by it."

Blue, by Thomas Weatherall, 23 Feb-16 March, Scott Theatre Show warnings: contains references to suicide, coarse language, theatrical haze and herbal cigarettes.

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