Theatre: The Pool



Getting to Steve Rodgers’ new play, The Pool, is an adventure in itself.

When did you last go to a theatre performance in an actual swimming pool?

As it turns out, the Bold Park Aquatic Centre is the perfect venue for an event where the actors actually leap into the pool, swim laps, dive, splash and generally have a good time.



Staging The Pool for the Perth Festival presented unique challenges for Kate Champion, artistic director of Black Swan State Theatre Company.

For an event which focuses on the variety of characters who can be found at one of Australia’s 2000-odd public swimming pools, Champion decided it must be staged in an actual pool.

Bold Park Aquatic Centre, in City Beach, was an inspired choice. It even has tiered stands from which the audience has a great view of the action. (You are sitting on concrete bleachers, so you are advised to take a cushion and even a low back picnic chair).



On the way to your seat you pick up personal headsets which allow you to hear clearly the conversations going on around the pool.

You hear pool manager Sandra (Kylie Bracknell) discussing work politics with swim instructor Kirk (Joel Jackson); retired friends Val(Julia Moody) and Greta (Polly Low) chatting about book club and mahjong; Greta’s adult daughter Joni (Emma Jackson) trying

 to overcome her fears by taking swimming lessons; teen couple Safiyah (Edylll Ismail) and Ananda (Tobias Muhafidin) rebelling against their restrictive migrant parents.



While all this is happening, a group of swimmers dubbed The Chorus are gliding up and down and generally having fun in the water.

There’s a lot going on for 1 hour 20 minutes. And after that, members of the audience are invited to jump into the pool themselves for an impromptu aqua aerobics session.

The Pool is a unique event, an artistic and technical triumph.



It continues at Bold Park Aquatic Centre until Sunday, February 25.


Photographs: Daniel J. Grant