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Flood

FloodWill O’Mahoney

In the Black Swan State Theatre Company’s Flood, a group of six friends must deal with the consequences of a horrific accident that threatens to alter the course of their entire lives. We caught up with actor Will O’Mahoney, who plays Sal.

When you’re young, you think you’re bulletproof. Being confronted with the folly of that assumption is almost inevitably a traumatic experience, as evinced in Flood, written by award-nominated playwright, Chris Isaac.

Will O’Mahoney, a key member of the production’s ensemble cast, explains. “It’s a story about six friends who all decide to go on this expedition into the Kimberly, camping, and they’re involved in an awful, awful accident – which I can’t really give away. They have to make the terrible decision whether to attempt to cover it up or own up to it. Like any good drama, they choose to do the wrong thing and try to bury this secret. The play then explores how a secret can tear apart a group and those people keeping those secrets.”

It’s a meaty and intriguing premise, even it does have shades of the ‘90s teen horror schlocker, I Know What You Did Last Summer. Still, that’s where the similarities end, O’Mahoney assures us. “Genre-wise, I think it’s kind of got an element of Wolf Creek but take away the horror of it,” he says. “Really, it’s a story about friendship and guilt. There’s almost an element of Stand By Me to it. Obviously the characters aren’t as young as those, but it’s about a group of friends who go through something together and come out, if not better people, then certainly wiser people on the other side.”

O’Mahoney himself is used to being both in front of the audience and behind the scenes. A 2007 graduate of WAAPA’s prestigious acting program, he returned to the school to undertake the directing course. Since then, he’s written and produced the surreal allegorical piece, Great White – itself receiving a short encore season as part of Fringe World.

O’Mahoney describes his character, Sal, as a both a leader and provocateur. “There are many references in the script to him being a bit lost and frustrated. I guess he’s at that point in his life where he’s neither 20 nor 30 and is a bit aimless and directionless. After the incident happens, he’s the one who puts his foot down and is successful in convincing every other member of the group is the best thing to do is to cover up the secret – to try to move on with their lives in spite of the fact that this secret will weigh them down. He’s a key decision maker in the group and he is very persuasive – probably to the group’s detriment.”

TRAVIS JOHNSON

Flood plays at the State Theatre Centre’s Studio Underground from Friday, January 17 until Sunday, February 2 as part of Fringe World. For tickets and session times, head to bsstc.com.au

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