Crooked teenage lives come to the stage

CROOKED: Shekinah Horsburgh as Maribel, Tara Gladigau as Laney and Eliza Suggate as Elise will perform their first public play since the COVID-19 pandemic over the weekend at the Wehl Street Theatre.

Charlotte Varcoe

FEMALE sexuality, adolescence and religion will be explored on the stage as the Mount Gambier Theatre Group perform in front of a live audience for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

The dramatic comedy Crooked, originally written by Catherine Trieschmann follows the life of 14 year old Laney and her mother Elise as they move to Mississippi to Elise’s old home soon after her mother divorces from her father.

Laney soon finds herself in the company of Maribel, a preacher’s daughter who is often ostracized for her weight before the two navigate the difficulties of youth sexuality, religion and the mental health surrounding divorced parents.

The three local aspiring actresses, Shekinah Horsburgh, Tara Gladigau and Eliza Suggate said they were excited to get back on the stage yet despite also being a comedy the play discusses mental health and self harm causing audience members to be over the age of 15.

“There are also a lot of metaphors, Laney has dystonia which gives her a crooked back and a little hump and that really reflects the crooked lives of the characters and them trying to straighten each other out,” Ms Horsburgh said.

Ms Suggate said her character Elise also tries to navigate the new world her and her daughter have entered.

“The mum is also a social worker who really tries to coach the two girls through their teenage years and helps Maribel because she is having some pretty big emotions and is not quite sure how to deal with them appropriately while trying to figure out how to also parent Laney on her own,” Ms Suggate said.

Ms Gladigau, who plays Laney, described her character as a very self absorbed adolescent who blames her mother for the separation from her father rather than the real issue.

“Laney’s parents get a divorce after her father has a mental breakdown and instead of acknowledging what really happened she blames her mother which presents a lot of typical teenage tension in their relationship,” Ms Gladigau said.

The first performance since before the COVID-19 pandemic, the actresses said they were excited to bring live theatre back to entertain the community.

“We had our last production all ready to go but then it got postponed due to the pandemic and we have not performed it since because we do have some at risk members,” Ms Horsburgh said.

“That was when we decided as a committee that we needed to put some kind of performance on stage here to get everyone back in the mindset but also entertain the community once again.

“But we are in the process of putting together a pantomime of Alice in Wonderland for later this year where we will not be acting but will be directing.”

Tickets for the Crooked performance are available online at the Try Booking website or at the door on the night with cash only available.

It will be performed at the Wehl Street Theatre tonight (Friday) at 7.30pm or tomorrow (Saturday) at 2pm or again at 7.30pm.