3 Min Read

An Impressive Spectacle: The Lighthouse Girl Saga

Theatre 180’s latest production combines the art forms of cinema and theatre in a wartime story. Yes, another WWI story. I never really understood the older generation’s obsession with this genre; with history. But after watching The Lighthouse Girl Saga, I get it. Because this generation didn’t have access to therapy or speak openly, they connect to and vicariously re-live theirs or their ancestors’ experiences and traumas through watching and reading these stories.

This emotional retelling of 4 novels with a parallel narrative explores romantic love, patriotic love, love for family and for animals. It was the first time I’ve heard someone audibly stifle tears during a performance. While it’s not a genre I’m particularly fond of, the emotional prowess of this story is undeniably moving and telling it through a hybrid art form is refreshing.

The Lighthouse Girl Saga. Photography Green Man Media & Mike Hemmings.

The backdrop of Ace Midland’s cinema screen showed sweeping landscapes of Menang County (Albany) and historic images of the places across the world this historic fiction is set in. Photos on the screen serving as extras making the cast seem bigger than the 3 actors. The large screen also enabled emphasis on particular moments, literal close-ups of an exchange of gifts or other small physical gestures that would otherwise be hard to see from the back rows of the cinema. 

The lighting was simple yet well-executed, having to contend with a massive screen behind the stage. There was no competition between the visuals of the screen and the stage lighting. Director Stuart Halusz effortlessly directed the cast, Sienna Cate, Isaac Diamond and Nick Maclaine, to work within the unique lighting situation. The cast is constantly positioned flawlessly to avoid shadows over their faces throughout the show.

The Lighthouse Girl Saga. Photography Green Man Media & Mike Hemmings.

There is no backstage area to retreat to between scenes, at all times the stage is entirely exposed with all the props and costumes for each scene. Considering this and the actors playing several characters, scene transitions were executed beautifully within the flow of the intermingled stories.

The actors’ movement around the stage between scenes was seamless, not quite breaking character as they step to the side to let another actor take over the next scene as the story progresses. I was constantly impressed by the movement, in particular at a moment when an explosion occurred with a big bang coming from the screen (which sounds great on cinema speakers) pushing the actors onto a slow-mo retaliation and onto the floor.

It wasn’t just the venue giving this show a cinematic grandiose feel; this was an excellent piece of theatre by an expert team. You can’t not be impressed by the spectacle of it all.

The Lighthouse Girl Saga is showing across various dates and venues. 

ACE Cinemas Midland:

19 May 11am | 7pm

20 May 3pm | 7pm

21 May 3pm

26 May 11am | 7pm

27 May 3pm

28 May 3pm

ACE Cinemas Rockingham:

9 June 11am | 7pm

10 June 3pm | 7pm

11 June 3pm