25th of June - 7th of July
Irene Mitchell Studio, St Martins Arts Centre
Shhhhh… Be still! There’s a man upstairs… When I stop the music, the first person to move has to leave the room. Those are the rules as they stand.
It’s a ghost story without a ghost. In a bare bones London town house, three siblings, haunted by the sudden disappearance of their mother, wait desperately for her call. Ellie, a ‘metro-sexual warrior’, makes up the rules; an outlaw, ‘king of all wild things’ draws on the walls; while Mother Maggie climbs them… They count hours, minutes, seconds and sheep as they try desperately, to fall asleep.
Few playwrights who have arrived on British stages in the last ten years have provoked more fascination or excitement than Polly Stenham. She is a writer for a world in search of authenticity. Intuitive, raw and often terrifying, Stenham wrote this exquisite play with children at the centre of it, when she was merely an adolescent herself.
by POLLY STENHAM
"Tusk Tusk inspires some astonishing acting from a young cast playing characters grappling with the kind of anxiety no one would wish upon any child. Walter and Kavenagh are brilliant, etching intimate character studies with an aching vividness impossible to dispel from the mind."
CAMERON WOODHEAD, The Age
"Tusk Tusk has rich rewards for those looking for something dark and sinister in their theatre. Director Ruby Rees has done an impressive job of cultivating a (sibling) authenticity; Walter and Kavenagh playing off each other with panache."
CAMERON COLWELL, The Music
Patalog Theatre’s production is presented with such nourishing intensity that you don’t so much watch, as bear witness. Ruby Rees directs with startling empathy and emotional precision. Ben Walter plays Eliot’s wounded grandiosity with spectacular resonance and Markella Kavenagh’s physical and emotional commitment to Maggie is revelatory -- the chemistry they share is seamless.
DARBY TURNBULL, TheatrePeople
cast and creatives
MARKELLA KAVENAGH as MAGGIE
Markella Kavenagh is one of the countries hottest young talents to watch, and Patalog is delighted she has selected Tusk Tusk as the project that sees her return to the stage after a string of outstanding screen successes. She began her foray into the mainstream Australian film and television industry with a key ensemble role in the television adaption of Picnic At Hanging Rock for Foxtel, Amazon and the BBC.
This put industry eyes on the still adolescent rising star and saw her cast in multiple Australian and international projects of note such as Romper Stomper for Stan, and The Cry for BBC. In 2018, Markella was nominated for an AACTA Award for Best New Talent for her work on Romper Stomper. More recently Markella has worked on, Furlough by writer/director/actress Phoebe Tonkin and The Gloaming with Ewen Leslie for Stan and ABC International. She is thrilled to be tackling the colossal role of Maggie in Tusk Tusk.
BEN WALTER as ELIOT
Ben Walter is the Artistic Director and founder of Patalog Theatre, which he has been developing since 2017. Patalog’s most recent project saw acclaimed critical success, with Ben starring as; ‘Katurian’ in Martin McDonagh’s The Pillowman. Earlier this year Ben was the assistant director for Lightning Jar Theatre’s production of Mr. Burns; a Post-Electric Play at fortyfivedownstairs working with director John Kachoyan. Mr. Burns saw a sold out first run and a return season. Ben was also key cast on this project.
Other recent credits include, ‘Derb’ in Rainbow Man at fortyfivedownstairs with emerging group Goodnight Darlings and ‘Baby’ in Patalog Theatre’s maiden production of Jez Butterworth’s Mojo which he also directed and produced. He has undertaken iconic characters from a young age, most notably, Javert in Les Miserables and Daryl Van Horne, in The Witches of Eastwick for which he received nominations for 'Best Junior Performer in the Victorian Music Theatre Guild'. In 2016, he toured with a Adamson Theatre Company performing at schools around the UK in the role of Francis Henshall in One Man, Two Guvnors.
LUCY ANSELL as CASSIE
Lucy trained at the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) and graduated in 2018. Theatre credits while at VCA include John Proctor in The Crucible (dir. Adena Jacobs), Fortune Teller in The Skin of Our Teeth (dir. Dean Bryant), Westmoreland in Henry V (dir. Leith McPherson) and Nina in The Seagull (dir. Budi Miller), which she later performed at the Asia Pacific Bond of Theatre Schools Conference in Shanghai, 2017.
In 2018, she collaborated and performed in VCA Masters of Directing show A Divergent Herstory: Part I (dir. Cara Dinley) and was the recipient of The Patricia Kennedy award for Excellence. Since graduating, Lucy has appeared in guest roles for ABC’s Utopia and Network Ten’s My Life is Murder.
GLENN VAN OOSTEROM as ROLAND
A National Theatre Graduate, Glenn has been fortunate enough to perform nationally through a variety of projects, including: HIT Production’s The Sum of Us, Essential Theatre’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream; the titular role in Romeo & Juliet for the Australian Shakespeare Company; premiere Franz Xaver Kroetz’s Tom Fool for Hoy Polloy, explore Proust’s Marcel & Albertine for Stork Theatre, launch Jane Miller’s True Love Travels on a Gravel Road and play a critically-acclaimed young Hitler in Tabori’s Mein Kampf with 15 Minutes from Anywhere, and for the same company premiere Just a Boy Standing in Front of a Girl in 2018. Plus, regular touring to rural Australia to promote mental health with HealthPlay's Out of the Blue.
Screen credits include the upcoming feature Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears, Limelight International’s The Stolen, Terry Pratchett & Snowgum Films' long-awaited Troll Bridge, Bed of Roses (ABC), Rush (Ch.10) and the web-series Clique. Voice work includes radio, TVCs, documentaries, animation, television, short films and the popular Machinima web-series Optimism Bias.
JAYNE-LOUISE O'CONNELL as KATIE
Jayne-Louise O’Connell studied at the National Institute of Dramatic Art and has since appeared on screen and television.
Some of her feature film credits include A Lion Returns and Angel of Mine as well as the short-film, Pride, which will move through the international festival circuit later this year.
Her theatre accolades include Il Trovatore with the West Australian Opera and a finalist in the Independent Theatre Association’s Dramafest for her performance as ‘Betty’ in October.
A founding member of Manet Collective, a Melbourne based theatre company and currently working on a collaborative project with Screen Australia to feature short films in cinemas nationwide, Jayne-Louise is passionate about furthering the arts industry.
SOL FELDMAN as FINN
Sol is a passionate young performer training with Alex Walker at The House of Muchness. Sol performed the lead in Fraught Outfit’s Book of Exodus Part One and Two (dir. Adena Jacobs) in 2017. More recently he toured Tasmania for the Ten Days on the Island festival with The Children’s Party (dir. Alex Walker/ Ben Landau) as well as performing at the Melbourne Town Hall. Sol has also completed numerous short films and commercials and is currently in development with Aaron Orzech, Jo Lloyd, Adena Jacobs and Alex Walker for a new work to be performed in Feb/March 2020.
Sol is thrilled to be a part of the Tusk Tusk ensemble and looking forward to working with the wonderful Patalog team.
LIAM SMITH as FINN
Liam is currently a student at Centrestage Performing Arts in Brunswick and is training in Drama.
Liam made his professional debut in 2018 playing the role of Leo in Melancholia at Malthouse Theatre. Other professional credits include playing Young Michael Leunig in the documentary portrait, The Leunig Fragments (dir. Kasimir Burgess) which is having its world premiere at this year’s Sydney Film Festival. Liam also played Wally in the Short Film, Two Piece (dir. Greta Nash) which won best film at Tropfest 2018, Town’s Child in Judy & Punch (dir. Mirrah Foulkes), Tommy in the Phil episode of True Story. Liam has also appeared in many T.V commercials over the years.
Liam is excited to join the cast of Tusk Tusk and would like to thank his family, his school and is proudly represented by Centrestage Agency.
RUBY REES DIRECTOR
Ruby Rees was the youngest recipient of the National St Martin’s Playwriting Award in 2010 for her first play, “Serpents”. In 2013 she relocated to New York City where she trained at HB Studio as both an actor and a playwright, as well as a director, and was mentored by the late Tony recipient Jack Hofsiss. She completed a residency at the Manhattan Repertory Theatre Company in 2016. Ruby is currently in pre-production for her debut feature film, Women By The Sea, and is honoured to be directing Tusk Tusk for Patalog Theatre as she returns to the Melbourne scene.
As well as building a career as a writer/director Ruby has been a professional actress her whole life and already has an impressive list of credits. She can currently be seen on Amazon Prime, Foxtel, BBC, Canal Plus, and Telekom as the key role of Edith in the limited series Picnic at Hanging Rock. Ruby has been a professional her whole life and has already amassed an impressive list of credits. She can also be seen on Netflix, CBS and ABC in her recurring role in Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries.