We sat down with award winning playwright Brendan Hogan to ask him five questions about his play The Last Boy on Earth which is being performed this July School holidays as part of the 2019 HotHouse season.
What inspires you to write for children and families?
There are lots of plays for really young kids, and there are lots of plays for young adults and older, but where are the plays for those kids aged 10-14? Not musicals or school productions, but actual funny, challenging plays. Kids in this age bracket are very aspirational in what they what to see and be engaged by. They’re not quite ready for the heavy adult stuff, but they also don’t want to be patronised by kiddy stuff. I want to give the audience something that the whole family can genuinely enjoy and be affected by.
The play is very funny. Do you have fun in rehearsals working with the young people in the cast?
One of the most satisfying things about writing a play is seeing what the actors bring to it in terms of other layers and jokes. Kids are great to work with because they have a different perspective and ask all kinds of tricky questions I hadn’t really thought of. We know we are onto something when, after hours and hours of rehearsals, we still find and create new moments that make us fall to pieces with laughter.
The play is set in the near future. What do you think the world will really be like 2043?
It’s fair to say a future where everyone, except for a young boy, has died, is not your normal fodder for a family friendly comedy. Do I really think the world will be like that in 2043? I hope not – I’ve got things I need to do! But there are other elements of the show I do think ring true, even in 2019, such as our inability to properly manage our waste and our dependence on technology to solve all our problems for us.
What are you looking forward to the most about doing the play at HotHouse?
HotHouse is one of the best regional theatres in Australia and it’s right on our door step. As a playwright, you always write with the hope of having your work performed in front of a large audience in a professional theatre. The reality is that for most playwrights, those opportunities are few and far between. It’s been a thrill to work with professional producers, designers and crew. In the end, however, I’m looking forward to opening night and seeing the audience respond to what we have created. We think it’s great and we hope other do to.
For those who saw the play last time – why should they come back and see it again?
It’s a different show to last time. Bigger and better! The story has been tweaked and Ben, our musician, has been working on a completely new score for the show and will be performing live for the audience. Sophie has designed an amazing set, which has to be seen to be believed, and Rhys has been working hard on a new lighting design which is a world away from the couple of lights we had in the tiny Masonic Hall in Yackandandah. Visually and emotionally, the story will be different and we can’t wait to show everybody just what we’ve done with it!
The Last Boy on Earth plays from 9 July at the Hume Bank Butter Factory Theatre for six performances only.
You can read more abo0ut the play here.
The Last Boy on Earth is suitable for humans and aliens aged 8 earth years and above
Bookings can be made here
The production contains: Haze, Loud noises, and Strobe lighting.