By Mikayla van Loon
Mother and son, Ange and Lachlan Glennie, have always dreamed of performing together on stage, so when the opportunity arose in Lilydale’s The Deep Blue Sea, they took it.
Being such an intense play about mental health and with Ange playing the leading role as Hester Collyer, neither of them really realised how emotionally challenging it would be.
“Something I hadn’t considered as a mum was his perspective of saying it’s pretty full on seeing you as emotional as what you are, you’re my mum and your heart is being ripped out and a lot of what his character is saying is adding to that pain,” Ange said.
“Staring at mum across the stage as she’s bawling her eyes out, and my character’s perspective is basically that he doesn’t care, it’s probably one of the hardest things I’ve had to do on a stage. It’s been awesome but really difficult,” Lachlan said.
Talking through scenes on the way to rehearsal and voicing each other’s concerns was important to both Ange and Lachlan to ensure they were coping with the serious subject matter of the play.
“As an actor, all emotion is good. Whether it’s nervous energy or any kind of energy you learn to harness it and put it into whatever your character is supposed to be feeling at that time,” Lachlan said.
Having performed the play for two weeks now, Lachlan said the ease of not recognising Ange as his mother on stage has probably increased to 80 per cent of the time.
“There are always protections as an actor, in terms of protecting your real emotion. We can all tap into stuff that happened before and that’s what you draw on to get that energy or that sense of feeling but it still is acting,” Ange said.
“As long as you rely on the lighting, the mood, the costumes and to a great extent, certainly in this play because it is so beautifully written, you definitely rely on the words and the way that Terence Rattigan has written them because it’s crafted in such a way that if you concentrate on those, yes, you bring in the energy, but that’s almost like a protection for your real self.”
Growing up around his mum and his grandpa performing and singing, Lachlan said that’s where his love of the performing arts started and being able to share that with his mum on stage was always a goal but the right play had never quite come along.
“There was always a desire when I was young to perform with mum and then I got a bit older and I think she saw that I was capable enough that we could do it one day,” he said.
“It’s probably the most fun I’ve ever had doing a play and even just getting to unpack it.
“You talk to your parents about everything you do in life but rarely is there a passion that you really share together where you can build on that passion and create something and talk about the process as well as the end result, so it’s really special.”
Ange said being on stage with her son makes her feel incredibly safe, particularly in those heavily emotional scenes and of course proud to see her son at such a young age immerse himself into his character.
“As a mum, of course, when I’ve seen Lach perform as I have in many different forms, both music and also straight theatre, you’re always filled with pride.
“And I am proud of him this time but it’s just got that extra layer of, ‘Wow, you’re good to work with.’”
This hopefully won’t be the last time the mother and son duo take to the stage, with plans to perform together in the future.
The Deep Blue Sea is in its final week, with closing night on 4 June. Ange and Lachlan both said even if they weren’t in the play, they believe it is an important and powerful show for everyone to see.