On first glance, Extinction appears to be about the demise of Australia’s endangered species’ and the dangers of global warming. Well, it is except the species includes humankind; and how do we choose what’s worth saving.
Representing life and hope, an injured Tiger Quoll is brought to veterinarian Andy (Myles Pollard; A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Drift) after mining mogul Harry (Matt Dyktynski; Black Swan roles include Day One, A Hotel, Evening and Boundary Street) accidentally hits the rare marsupial with his car. Andy makes a hard decision much to the disappointment of his lover American conservation biologist Dr Piper Ross (Hannah Day; Black Swan debut and previous stage performances include Shakespeare WA and Blue Room Theatre). Enter Heather (Sarah McNeill; The Seagull and Shrine), Andy’s sister and director of the CAPE Institute who accepts Harry’s “dirty” money to fund a research project to save the tiger quoll. And so the tangled web of passion and ethics is woven into the themes of loss and death under a heated blanket of global warming. A crescendo of dark despair ultimately descends.
Black Swan Theatre presents yet another outstanding production. Playwright Hannie Rayson is to thank for Extinction’s punchy dialogue, whose work was inspired by research at the Conservation Ecology Centre on the extinction of the Tiger Quoll in the Otway ranges on the south coast of Victoria; a wild setting epitomising the raw emotions expressed in the production. Director Stuart Halusz makes his main stage debut; I’m sure Perth will be eagerly waiting for his next. Set and Costume Designer Bryan Woltjen is responsible for the seamless and clever set changes and wonderful forest scenes.
Related to the already extinct Tasmanian Tiger, Tiger Quolls are endangered and in rapid decline because of the introduction of predators like foxes and cats, as well as the destruction of the habitat. The western quoll, found in WA, and more commonly known as the chuditch, was sighted in the wild in Albany when an officer of the Department of Parks and Wildlife was driving. A case of art imitating life.
Extinction is a Black Swan Theatre Company production and plays at the Heath Ledger Theatre 19 September to 4th October 2015