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Kuranui student lands lead role

Alexander ‘AJ’ Southey (left), and Colton Stuart in character for this week’s play. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

By Jake Beleski

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A timely visit to the hairdressers catapulted Kuranui College student Alexander ‘AJ’ Southey into the world of theatre and a lead part in this week’s ‘An Unseasonable Fall of Snow’ at Greytown’s Little Theatre.

The one-act mystery play is a psychological study of the innermost private depths of the human condition, where a defensive young man is being interrogated about a serious incident the night before.

The cast and crew are being tight-lipped about the plot, but are adamant it will leave audiences guessing until the end.

AJ and Colton Stuart are the only actors in the production, and AJ explained how a fortuitous set of circumstances led to him landing the role.

“Last year, my mum was having a haircut and Leigh Hay, the chair of the local community board, was having a haircut at the same time.

“They got talking and mum explained how I was going to the National Youth Drama School to learn about lighting.”

Greytown Little Theatre chairman John Gilberthorpe was looking for someone to do the lights for his play ‘Take a Chance on Me’, and AJ jumped at the opportunity.

“Leigh put me in touch with John, who thought I’d done lights for some time, but what I didn’t tell him was how long I had done them for . . . it was my first proper show,” he said.

AJ featured in last summer’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ co-production with Kuranui College, Cobblestones Museum and Greytown Little Theatre.

But it was his performance in Kuranui’s recent adaptation of ‘Pericles: Prince of Tyre’ at the regional finals of the Sheilah Winn Festival of Shakespeare in Schools, that brought his acting ability to the attention of Mr Gilberthorpe, who is directing this week’s production.

“I don’t really like doing serious roles . . . I like comedy, but it’s a good challenge,” AJ said.

“I’ve had to do a lot of rehearsals, about four to six days a week.”

Mr Gilberthorpe has said the production is not appropriate for children because of coarse language and dark themes, but says it will “resonate strongly in our community”.

Dealing with those dark themes was an exciting challenge, AJ said.

“Getting into character and getting back out again is fine in most performances, but when it’s something reasonably believable because it’s in a place you recognise, it can be quite disconcerting.”

‘An Unseasonable Fall of Snow’ will be performed at 7.30pm each night from Wednesday through to Saturday, with a matinee on Sunday at 2pm.

Tickets can be purchased from The Good Mood Company in Greytown, with door sales also available.

Adult tickets are $20, and student tickets $10.

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