The stellar Australian cast was recently announced ahead of the two-time Olivier Award nominee’s opening, and amongst the fantastic line-up is Play School’s favourite Jay Laga’aia who is taking the stage to scare the living daylights out of the kids and parents who used to sing along with him at home.
Laga’aia was both intrigued and excited by the project initially and knew instinctively that it was something he wanted to be involved with.
“I knew it was something that I wanted to explore because I was working on a musical when the auditions came up, and I realised that this type of storytelling was lacking in the current theatrical landscape here in Australia,” he says. ” It was also something that was primal. Everyone loves to be scared, but how do you go about it in a theatre setting?”
Laga’aia plays Tony Matthews, the night watchman. One night he experiences something truly terrifying but what makes it so scary, says Laga’aia, is that he is just like any one of us, an everyday blue collar worker that everyone can relate to.
For Laga’aia, the audition process and subsequent success at winning the role were both rewarding and fortuitous.
Billed as a paranormal thriller and, from all descriptions, something quite unique in that area, Ghost Stories scares even the actors! Laga’aia has only had a few days in the rehearsal room but admits to already being a little frightened even with the lights on and with hardly any props! “I think the trick to telling this story is to never get ahead of yourself. The writing is clever in itself, so it’s up to us as performers to stay in the moment and to let the story tell itself. The addition of sound and lighting and props will elevate the situation even more, and that is something that I am equally dreading and looking forward to.”
The show has had various off and on runs since 2010 (and has had a film adaptation starring the original Professor and co-writer, Andy Nyman) so does Laga’aia feel any pressure when thinking about the original cast and what they brought to the show?
“I don’t feel any pressure because we have an audience who have never seen the show, and therefore have no expectations. Our job is to take these people on an adventure and do so in such a way that gives them an experience they will want to encourage others to take as well… all while keeping the secrets of the show! I am looking forward to it.”
Says Laga’aia, ” I love a show that has everything in the title. The audiences should expect to be told some GHOST STORIES!”
ARE YOU BRAVE ENOUGH TO BOOK?
MELBOURNE at the Athenaeum Theatre: https://bit.ly/GhostStoriesMEL
From Sep 20
ADELAIDE at the Dunstan Playhouse: https://bit.ly/GhostStoriesADL
From Dec 7
Read the full article on TheatreMatters.