Hunter students' heartfelt drama performance secures place OnSTAGE

A Hunter quartet will take centre stage in Sydney to perform their moving production about dementia, after it was selected as one of the best from NSW Higher School Certificate students.

Former Hunter School of the Performing Arts students Maisie Owens, Camden Aglio, Isabelle Clements and Nicholas Thoroughgood wrote, directed, produced and performed in Lost in Transmission, inspired by each of their family’s experiences with the cruel disease.

“We wanted to create a piece that resonated with us so it could then resonate with the audience,” Ms Owens, 17, said.

“Essentially we wanted to do quite an abstract and symbolic look at how quickly dementia can take away your memory, your identity and your relationships.

“We wanted to show the deterioration not only to a person and their mind, but how it affects their families and connections.”

Ms Owens said dementia ran in her father’s family. Isabelle and Camden have each lost a grandparent with dementia, while Nick has a grandparent living with dementia.

“It was one of the hardest pieces we’ve had to do,” Ms Owens said.

“Especially for Nick and for our families to see.”

The performance starts with the students watching an old film while Dream A Little Dream Of Me plays.

People are shown looking back on memories they can’t connect to, before the audience is introduced to four characters, a woman who confuses her husband for her son; her reflective son; a woman scared of dementia; and a man who remembers falling in love with his wife, but not her name.

Ms Owens said the idea for the production followed the four collaborating on a piece about dementia based on the spoken words of real people.

“We want the audience to think about dementia – it can be really confusing, not completely physical and is often not talked about,” she said.

“We want them to consider what it’s like waking up not knowing who you are.”

The group will perform their work on February 3 and from Monday to Friday next week in the Seymour Centre as part of OnSTAGE, a showcase of outstanding performances by last year’s HSC Drama students.

“We were really stoked to get this opportunity because we love this piece so much and worked so hard on it, rehearsing every lunchtime for months. We took it very seriously but it paid off and we’re so proud of it.”

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