The Little Mermaid Returns

Ian SInclairPlaywright Ian Sinclair’s acclaimed 2013 production ‘The Little Mermaid’ is getting a second run as part of the Independent Theatre Festival.

The devised work which takes it’s inspiration from the Hans Christian Anderson fairytale explores the same themes as the original story but is a thoroughly modern take on the tale.

Sinclair tells OUTinPerth the play has had some significant changes since it’s first outing.

“It’s nice to return to it, we had such a good time the first time round. It’s nice to be back with the same people.” said Sinclair.

“It’s a devised work, so it’s nice to be able to go back and make some changes.

“It would be worth people seeing a second time because the endings changed, it’s become more of a tragedy and gone a bit darker.” explained Sinclair.

The production has also recast it’s leading man bringing in up and coming actor Jack Walker for the new season.

“We recast, we were trying to look for someone who fitted the mold a bit better.” Sinclair said, “We’d seen Jack in a few production and would fit very well. We wanted to actors who had a similar ephemeral quality… he’s an actor who has a certain special something.

“It’s good to have someone new, who brings a new energy to the production, otherwise you find you repeat the same patterns and the same ideas. Jack sees the show from an outside perspective and brings a lot to the process.”

Last year when the show first premiered Sinclair told us what first attracted him to the story of the Little Mermaid.

“Originally I came across the original text again when I was looking on the internet.  I read the story again. I’m pretty sure the Disney version messed me up for my adult life, but when I read the original story I was interested in the darkness contained within it.

“The part about her losing her voice, her turning into sea foam at the end, the pain in her feet and all that sort of imagery, I thought was quite theatrical.

“When I did more research I found out that Hans Christian Andersen wrote the original story as a love letter to a ballet dancer that he was infatuated with. It was an unrequited love because the ballet dancer had no interest in him whatsoever.

“It grew from there, when we start to devise the work I always start in rehearsals with two words, and the words for this were ‘unrequited love’ and ‘surface’. The theme of unrequited love is one that really hit me; everyone knows that feeling of trying to obtain someone who is unobtainable and that pain. That’s happened to me, nearly everyday I fall in love with someone who is unobtainable.

“So that was the attraction for me, not so much the story itself but the theme of unrequited love and the imagery associated with the story and the idea of transforming.”

‘The Little Mermaid’ opens at the Subiaco Arts Centre on Wednesday night and plays until Saturday.

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