Farce About Houseguest Pest for Perth
HOW far would you go to get rid of an unwelcome houseguest?
It’s a question explored in The Nerd, a produced by Serial Productions at the Old Mill Theatre (WA) during July 2019, written by US playwright Larry Shue and directed by Joe Isaia and Rob Warner.
The story focuses on young architect Willum, visited by ex-GI Rick Steadman – a man he has never met but saved Willum’s life after he was seriously wounded in Vietnam.
Willum is delighted when Rick shows up unexpectedly at his apartment on the night of his 34th birthday party, although Rick's awkward manner and inappropriate behaviour soon throws the occasion into shambles.
“As you can imagine, there are many embarrassing moments between Willum and his guests,” Isaia said.
“Rick is a strange nerd who overstays his welcome with a vengeance and Willum goes to outrageous lengths to be rid of him.
“Essentially, it’s a classic fish-out-of-water story.
“One of the challenges is keeping everything as real as possible while dishing out the laughs.
“We want the audience to identify and sympathise with our characters in what are sometimes extraordinary circumstances.”
Acting and directing for nearly 30 years, Isaia made his debut with Limelight Theatre and has gone on to work with the Old Mill, KADS, Marloo and Garrick Theatres, Serial Productions and the Graduate Dramatic Society in shows such as Blackadder, Breaker Morant, The King and I, Death of a Salesman, The Woman Who Cooked Her Husband and Macbeth.
He had also directed numerous productions including Nuts, Revenge, Our Boys, Amy’s View, Noises Off and Footloose.
“I had the good fortune to play the title role in The Foreigner last year, which was also written by Larry Shue,” Isaia said.
“The success of the show led Serial Productions to take on the challenge of producing another comedy by the same playwright.
“As I was going to be away for the some of the performance dates and couldn't be in it, I put my hand up to direct the show.”
Co-director Rob Warner said The Nerd examined the lengths people go to in an effort to help friends and loved ones, even if that meant sometimes hilarious or humiliating results.
“Expect a lot of laughter and some cringe-worthy awkwardness,” he said.
“The character of Willum feels duty-bound to welcome and accept someone to whom he owes a deep debt but whose cluelessness threatens to ruin both his professional and personal lives.
“How much would you put up with from someone to whom you owe so much?”
The Nerd plays at 7.30pm August 9, 10, 14, 15, 16, 17, 19, 21, 22, 23 and 24 with 2pm matinees August 11 and 18. Tickets are $25, $22 concession – book at www.trybooking.com/BDMTU. On August 16, 50 per cent proceeds will go to the WA Heart and Lung Transplant Foundation.
The heritage-listed Old Mill Theatre is on the corner of Mends Street and Mill Point Road, South Perth (opposite the Windsor Hotel and Australia Post).
Images: Richard Hadler plays Rick Steadman, the title character in The Nerd; Alan Gill, left, Rhett Clarke and Richard Hadler; and Richard Hadler, left, as Rick Steadman, Jacqui Warner as Clelia Waldgrave and John Pomfret as Warnock Waldgrave.