AFTER a long road during production, Gener8 Theatre’s In The Pines is ready to hit the stage this week at the Sir Robert Helpmann Theatre.
In the Pines is an innovative thriller that examines the human cost of methamphetamines, particularly ice, in regional communities.
It tells the story of Claire and Simon McRae.
Tragedy strikes at the heart of their marriage when they move to Mount Gambier.
Torn apart by grief and financial strain, each make desperate decisions that draw them into a new and dangerous world surprisingly inhabited by some of those closest to them.
A quick-fix solution suddenly becomes a deadly situation.
Artistic director Jamie Harding said the show had matured greatly since its beginning in 2016, now featuring virtual reality headsets for half of the production.
“A lot has happened since the beginning of production with more focus on the economy of the drug and how it really does touch the most unlikely aspects of the community,” he said.
As the live theatre performance switches to virtual reality, audience members don the latest head-gear technology and enter a dangerous world where the legacies of the couple’s decisions must be paid.
“VR has been a giant step forward in innovation, we did not know how brave we were taking on something that is so new,” Mr Harding said.
“There are not many people who have included it in a production, which makes it both terrifying and exciting.”
Mr Harding spent several years researching the subject, speaking with ice addicts, their families, police officers and prisoners.
“The stories were harrowing,” Mr Harding said.
“These stories are now in my bones, they are a big part of me now and even though we are creating a work of fiction, we wanted the world of the show to be real and make an impact.”
Mr Harding hopes the tale will create conversation in the region around the impacts of methamphetamines and help incite change.
“We know it will not actually fix the problem, but anything that can get people talking and open more eyes to what is really going on in our region is something to be proud of,” he said.
“There is a solution out there somewhere – maybe our story will help find that.”
Mount Gambier-based Gener8 Theatre has undertaken an intensive Country Arts SA residency at the Varcoe Foundry, with Mr Harding, associate director John Crouch and a creative team comprising sound, visual and performing artists from across the country contributing to the final development.
The production will feature as part of Sir Robert Helpmann Theatre’s 2018 season, premiering next Thursday and continuing over the following days.
Tickets are available at the Sir Robert Helpmann Theatre box office.