In 1962, the Cuban Missile Crisis sent the world into panic – with it being arguably the closest the Cold War came to an all-out nuclear battle. And, while the countries involved have changed slightly, we’re seeing similar scenes overseas today.
That’s one of the reasons Summer of the Aliens is still such a successful play: the messages and concepts behind it still speak to current events.
Enya Flett will fill the shoes of the energetic Dulcie, a young tomboy on the cusp of womanhood, when the play is brought to life by Full Throttle Theatre Company this week.
“It is such a great play because it still has so much relevance today with events around the world causing the same sort of hesitation we’re made to feel from the production,” Enya said.
“The main character, Lewis, loves sci-fi and so he plays a lot of games with my character, his best friend, that are about alien invasions and things. Dulcie is really strong and opinionated, but her emotions can change just like that. She is basically the complete opposite to me, so taking on this role has been a really exciting challenge.”
The concept of aliens changes throughout the play: Lewis begins to imagine that, rather than the aliens planning an invasion, they are already on Earth and inside the bodies of the people he encounters. It’s a stirring reminder of the different ways youth perceive the world, and their understanding of prejudice and hostility versus perseverance and love.
“Lewis and Dulcie have a really strange relationship and there’s a lot that affects that, which you see throughout the play,” said Enya.
“There are some really confronting scenes which I’m still not sure how we’ll perform, but it’s really touching and has a strong message. This is only the second play I’ve acted in, after being in The Road to Midnight earlier this year, so I’m really grateful that I’ve been given the opportunity to step up into a role like Dulcie so soon.
“The leads in this cast are a bit younger than past productions obviously, because a lot of the play deals with growing up, but there’s also a number of regular Full Throttle actors involved who have been really great mentors to myself and everyone else.”
In a foreword to the initial published script, playwright Louis Nowra said “memory is remembered emotion, not facts” – which is reminiscent of the play, with scenes covering every scale of the emotional spectrum.
“This has been a really great play to be a part of because of how different it is and the questions it poses not just for us as a cast, but the audience as well,” Enya said.
Catch Full Throttle Theatre Company’s Summer of the Aliens at the Old Courthouse Theatre from 8-12 November. Tickets are available from fullthrottletheatre.com