I'm a freelance actor, travel writer, photographer, foodie and attention seeker living in the lower North Shore. Check out my blog at www.emmajaneexplores.com for more.
Jatz, cigarettes and refusing to be invisible
Jackrabbit Theatre's Hijacked season at KXT comes to a close this week and they're rounding out the season with a double-bill of brand new work, the first half of which is a remarkable development reading of Maureen: The Harbinger of Death.
Written by, and starring, actor Jonny Hawkins, Maureen: The Harbinger of Death pays homage to the spirited and unique nature of women of a certain age who refuse to be invisible.
Hawkins introduces us to the work with a heartfelt acknowledgement that the Maureen we are about to see is based on a very real Maureen from his life, mixed in with a combination of mythology and Kings Cross grit. He describes to us the vision for a grandiose set where Maureen's room is one with her but explains that for this development, he's keeping it simple.
With that, Hawkins dons Maureen's black turtleneck and flowing skirt, applies a hint of lipstick and as Maureen, settles into the scene amidst a tin of Jatz crackers and cigarettes. Director and co-creator Nell Ranney opts to have Maureen talk to us as if we are visitors in her room, sharing her biscuits with the audience and haranguing us for a lighter. It's simple and effective, with a beautiful, understated design from Isabel Hudson.
Hawkins as Maureen is quite remarkable. He embodies this working-class older woman with seeming ease and his mannerisms and wicked humour are quickly relatable. His Maureen thrives under an audience and is witty and engaging throughout the piece. Hawkins' storytelling as Maureen sparkles with humour as she relishes recounting tales of friends now gone.
As a first public performance, this reading is of exceptional quality with what can only be described as a remarkable acting performance by Hawkins. I am excited to see where Maureen: The Harbinger of Death goes next.