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According to Catherine Terracini, acting is "embedded in my
genes." Upon hearing tales of her childhood it's easy to understand
why Terracini has come to this notion. Her parents met while they
were both working at the Sydney Opera House. "Mum was in the lighting
rig and Dad was singing on stage, so when I was young we used to fol-
low Dad's shows around Europe and travelled around quite a bit. It
was sort of a magical upbringing really. I remember being really young
watching operas and plays and being taken to symphonies. My great
grandmother used to write plays for the Salvation Army..."
This itinerant acting lifestyle offered plenty of early memories of the
craft, yet Terracini didn't take to the stage herself until her teenage
years. "I was about 17, at high school," she says. "I was doing a lot of
dancing and decided I should probably add Drama to the list so I didn't
have to do Maths. I had a fantastic teacher and I loved it.
"One of the most vivid memories of acting was doing scenework as
part of my Theatre Studies degree at QUT that I only did for a year. I
had this sort of epiphany and thought, 'I don't think I want to do any-
thing else right now but this,' so I auditioned for NIDA."
Accepted to the prestigious acting school, Terracini focused on hon-
ing her skills and now with her school days behind her, the aspiring
thespian has begun the task of car ving out a career on the stage. Her
current project is a role in the psychological drama Bug, now playing
at Griffin's Stables Theatre in Kings Cross. The play, written by ac-
claimed playwright Tracy Letts (of August: Osage County fame) charts
a course through the quagmire of destructive relationships and all
that they involve. "It's about relationships, paranoia, authority, love,
loneliness and the way human beings deal with each of these," offers
Terracini. "The presence of bugs seems to be a physical representation
of the infestational and contagious way that emotions like loneliness,
paranoia and power manifest themselves."
Whilst the play charts some emotional terrain, according to Terra-
cini "the biggest challenge is creating the world of the play in the Grif-
"The entrances/exits are very specific and create the vacuum for the
dramatic tension which drives the piece, but our clever designer and
director have solved this problem brilliantly. Of course there are always
challenges each actor faces when approaching a role, but they have to
be kept a secret," she smiles.
So would one of the challenges be playing the role of a lesbian? Not
according to Catherine: "I actually keep forgetting that R .C is 'gay'.
I've never played a gay role before, but I am approaching it the same
way as I would any other role. It's still about being with a human being
that my character R.C loves. She just happens to be a woman..."
As for the plays themes, which can be hardgoing not just for the ac-
tors but the audience, Terracini has the following to say: "I hope that
the audience sees the importance of the relationships that are close to
them, that human beings are fragile and complex and that initial ap-
pearances very often have a different reality and that human states like
paranoia, loneliness, and fear are often very contagious and destruc-
Bug opens at Griffin's Stables Theatre on May 15 and plays until
June 5. Tickets $30/$26/$23.
Catherine Terracini explores the human condition.
By Cec Busby.
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