Ian Sinclair delivers another intriguing tale with ‘Nocturna’

Ian Sinclair is one of the most creative and innovative storytellers in the theatrical realm. Over the year’s he delivered many surprising and intriguing works including The Adam and Even, The Bearskinner, Little MermaidEcosexual Sauna and Whale Fall. Now he’s got a new play Nocturna which draws in inspiration from house-mates and the many lives of cats.

Over a decade ago Sinclair was featured in OUTinPerth as one of the up-and-coming young creatives to keep an eye on, and he’s certainly lived up to his potential.

In his work Sinclair has told stories that include the most unexpected references and unusual points of views, he told us that this latest work is one that has been bubbling away for some time.

“It actually started as a story a housemate told me, of an old house she was living in, and this very strange relationship one of the housemates had with a cat. Just a very, very close relationship that made her very uncomfortable.”

The recollection got Sinclair thinking about about how share-houses see many people living closely together, their lives intersecting and overlapping.

“It got me thinking about different lives living in share houses, sharing space, but also house pets, house cats, and this idea of nine lives. And while we’re all sort of living on top of each other, Millennials or whichever generation living on top of each other, what would it be to sort of experience several different lives?

“In the play, there’s a new housemate that comes into the house. That’s the impetus for changes that happen. It’s been a group of friends and lovers that have lived together for a very long time and live in their own worlds, we all know those sort of people with very insular friendships.

The story follows the domestic trials of the housemates, but also the adventures of the house cat who is living her ninth and final life, and desperately searching for her soul mate.

Asked if he ever dreams about past lives or alternate versions of himself, Sinclair laughs and responds, “Everyday I’m an alternate version of myself.”

“I think everyone thinks about what would it be to be in another life or another body or another time period, but maybe I’m a bit more of a present person.

“I like being in the present, which I guess is what the plays is about as well, not falling back into past behaviors, past habits, dwelling on the past. All your characters who are thinking about the future, dreaming about the future, but actually what is it being in the present together, and living together?

The production sees Ali Van Reeken, who recently starred in Black Swan’s acclaimed production York, taking on a very different role. She plays Molly, the household’s cat.

Sinclair says Van Reeken delivers an exceptional performance taking the audience through different lives the cat has lived via a series of visual monolouges.

“Ali just does this so beautifully, taking us to three different worlds, everywhere from Ancient Egypt to the craziness of the 80’s.”

While Sinclair wrote the work he won’t be able to attend the opening night. As he’s now based in Sydney he’s unable to make it in person. While some playwrights deliver very strict instructions on how their work is staged, Sinclair says he loves seeing what other creatives bring to the production and how they interpret what he’s written.

Nocturna is described as combing Mel Cantwell’s beautiful, naturalistic direction with the complex stories and characters so familiar in Sinclair’s body of work. This cat-nip narrative brings together a host of local talent including Dan Buckle, Isaac Diamond, Alicia Osyka, Morgan Owen alongside Ali Van Reeken as Molly the cat.

The core creative team are joined by some of Australia’s finest theatre artists including one of Australia’s most talented, multi-award-winning designers, Bruce McKinven who has created a simple yet striking set, and award-winning Lighting Designer Matt Marshall, who both bring many years of experience and a unique creative perspective to the production.

Sound Designer and Composer Rebecca Riggs-Bennett and Choreographer Emma Fishwick bring their unique experience creating dynamic designs for some of Australia’s most innovative theatre companies.

Noctura is at the Subiaco Arts Centre from 24-28 August. Tickets are on sale now

Graeme Watson


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