The Importance Of His New Show, Tonsils + Tweezers

29 January 2016 | 4:11 pm | Cicely Binford

“Clearly diversity on our stages in Australia is really important."

Will O’Mahony won’t be pigeonholed.

You might be tempted to look at his professional career and call him an actor, given all the performance credits to his name. But then you’d be ignoring the fact that he’s written half a dozen plays in the last few years, three of which he’s now directed, with the latest, Tonsils + Tweezers, garnering a spot in Black Swan State Theatre Company’s line-up. O’Mahony took a few minutes post-opening weekend to speak to us about writing and directing his 'dedication to friendship'.

“The play that I had in my head, I think I got on stage, so yeah, I am really happy,” he begins. “The lead-up and the short interrupted rehearsal period was quite a, I’m going to say it, a ballistic process. When we were in the room we had to just, 'BANG, let’s do this',” he says, seemingly unable to keep from using gun-related words to describe the experience.

Tonsils + Tweezers is the second half of a double bill called Loaded, and both plays revolve around gun threats to some degree, though O’Mahony’s central theme examines undying friendship between two high school underdogs. The character referred to as Tweezers plans to attend his high school reunion with revenge on his mind.

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O’Mahony attended his own 10-year reunion a couple of years ago, and though he wasn’t worried about anyone “going postal,” he dreaded talking about what he’d done in the last 10 years, “or more specifically, what you hadn’t done, or hadn’t achieved, dreams shattering from when you were 17,” he laughs. “That did fuel the beginnings of the first draft of the play.”

Now that the play has been produced, O’Mahony feels it has probably reached its final draft. “If I kept working on it, it would just be stopping me from presenting something new, and if I kept tinkering with it, I would be doing a disservice to the me that began writing it three years ago.”

The quartet of actors O’Mahony has cast to bring this dizzying trip into the mind of his protagonist are notably diverse, not only culturally, but as practitioners.      “Clearly diversity on our stages in Australia is really important, to have the stories we’re telling ourselves reflect the society we live in. And in terms of assembling a diverse cast of diverse skills and flavours as actors, those four were real assets.”

O’Mahony intends to diversify his own practice by trying his hand at devising new works with a group of artists as a leader, rather than as a contributor, as he’s done previously. He’s excited by the prospect of trying something new, and shies away from being labelled. “I don’t know if I’m a playwright more than I’m a director, more than I’m an actor, for instance; I think all three inform one another.”       Look for O’Mahony later in the year performing in Black Swan’s production of Angels In America, and keep an ear to the ground for more from the pen of one of Perth’s most promising slashies.

Originally published in X-Press Magazine