Prisoner to fame

AN Almost Perfect Thing is a dark and thought-provoking psychological play about possession, desire and the public’s right to know the truth.

When Mt Lawley director Gabrielle Metcalf first read Nicole Moeller’s award-winning script for the play, she was instantly hooked.

“I thought, oh my God, I have to put this on’.”

Metcalf says she can usually tell how a play is going to end, but an Almost Perfect Thing was so well written she couldn’t predict the denouement.

The play centres around Chloe (Daisy Coyle), who is abducted aged 11 and held captive in a basement for seven years before finally managing to escape.

Following her escape, Chloe is hounded by the media, and the public’s insatiable desire to to know everything about her and her abductor, and she unwittingly becomes an international celebrity.

But Chloe won’t name her abductor (Nick Maclaine) or lead police to where she was held.

Instead she seeks out Greg (Andrew Hale), a journalist in need of a high-profile story to revive his flagging career.

• Andrew Hale, Nick Maclaine and Daisy Coyle in the thought-provoking An Almost Perfect Thing. Photo by Pixel Poetry

Horrific crimes

Chloe controls every aspect of the way her story is to be told by Greg, and in the process the manipulated gradually becomes the manipulator.

The play examines how victims of horrific crimes can become a media target.

“I have not come across a play that tackles these issues in such a convincing way,” Metcalf says.

The play is loosely based on Austrian woman Natascha Kampusch, who in 1998 was abducted at the age of 10 and held in a secret cellar by her kidnapper Wolfgang Priklopil for more than eight years, until she escaped.

In the documentary, Natascha Kampusch: 3096 days in captivity, Kampusch sympathised with her captor, “I feel more and more sorry for him, he’s a poor soul”, and according to police she “cried inconsolably” when she was told Priklopil was dead and lit a candle for him at the morgue.

Newspapers quoting unnamed psychologists suggested Kampusch may suffer from Stockholm syndrome, but in her book 3,096 Days, Kampusch suggests that people who use this term about her are disrespectful, and do not allow her the right to describe and analyse the complex relationship she had with her kidnapper in her own words.

Metcalf says An Almost Perfect Thing is about an individual’s right to own their own story, and the ‘right’ of people to know the truth, and understand how that truth is constructed.

“It explores a side of humanity we rarely see confronted on our stages, making the play quite unique in the way it confronts issues of kidnapping, control and survival,” she says.

An Almost Perfect Thing is on at The Blue Room Theatre, James Street, North Perth August 8 to 26.

by JENNY D’ANGER

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