Interview: The Incredible Here and Now co-director Jeneffa Soldatic talks about the anticipated coming-of-age adaptation

Commissioned from local Parramatta author Felicity Castagna based on her multi award winning novel and performed by Australia’s newest theatre company, National Theatre of Parramatta, the coming-of-age drama The Incredible Here and Now looks set to be one of the most talked about shows on the season. In the leadup to the opening of the production on 13th July, we caught up with the production’s co-director Jeneffa Soldatic.

Why do you feel a play like The Incredible Here and Now is so significant?

The Incredible Here and Now is so significant as it is one of few plays that represents present day Parramatta. Felicity Castagna has written a beautiful and prevailing coming of age play that captures the cultural landscape Parramatta.

What has it been like working with author Felicity Castagna to bring her work to life on stage?

Felicity is a joy to have in the rehearsal room. She is wonderfully talented writer who’s been very open and gracious in the rehearsal room always supporting us in our endeavour together to take her play to it’s rightful place front and centre at Riverside.

Can you talk about the cast you’ve assembled for the production?

We have an amazing creative cast. They are a strong and uber talented ensemble of 7, with Bardiya McKinnon, Caroline Brazier, Sal Sahar, Alex Cubis, Ryan Peters, Libby Asciak and Olivia Simone. Each of the actors’ brings their own creative input in to the collaboration. It’s an exciting group and the work that they are doing is exceptional.

With the story set in the western suburbs of Sydney, it’s quite appropriate that it has its world premiere at Riverside Theatres – what does a play like this mean in terms of highlighting stories from the West?

It means that “The Incredible Here and Now”, a story that is placed and grounded in the local area, lends an unbiased voice, without adding judgment or opinion, of real life in the West. It’s not constructed to tell a moral rather to be a reflection of a real local family.

What would you like audiences to take away from the performance?

I would like people to take away the sense of the community that is in Parramatta and the strength that comes from its diversity. Even through extreme crisis, it is the diverse community that help each other through.

Be it on stage or on screen, coming of age dramas have captivated audiences for the last century and more. What are some of your favourites of the genre?

Movies: Stand by Me, The Breakfast Club
Theatre: Rent, The Curious Incident of the Dog, The Dolls House.
Books: The Alchemist, The Kite Runner, The Red Tent.

The show is running from 13th to 22nd of July. For tickets and more details, head HERE.