THE haunting The Oak Tree, with Guildford Grammar graduate Matthew Mckail, is based on a real oak tree planted by early white settlers at Wungong in Perth’s foothills.
The play is set by the idyllic banks of the Swan River, where history, nature and art converge under a 190-year-old oak tree planted by early European settlers in the area, the Hardey family.
Directed by Jane Sherwood for Fifi Productions, The Oak Tree is written by former KADS Theatre performer Fiona Blakeley, who also appears as main character Kate.
The play follows the trials and tribulations of Kate and Lennie (played by Mckail) on their Wungong farm, as they are hindered by the ghost of a woman who lived there years before.
With the ghost vowing to protect an old oak tree at the property’s entrance, Kate can either ignore the warnings and stand staunch in the face of adversity – or face up to what she longs to run from and risk everything that matters.
“We are so excited to bring back The Oak Tree to audiences in this magnificent setting,” Blakeley said.
“And it’s truly magical we get to do it in a place that lends so much depth and meaning to the story.
“The true star of the show has always been the grand old oak and, this time around, we’ll be sharing the stage with the real thing.”
A seasoned performer with more 25 years in the industry, Blakeley has appeared in numerous television commercials, short films and feature films and has performed at KADS, Melville, Harbour and Roleystone Theatres, Graduate Dramatic Society and the Short + Sweet 10-minute play festival.
She has also flexed her creative muscles as a writer with shows at Short + Sweet and Fringe World and is currently refining her historical fiction novel on Isobel Gowdie, renowned queen of Scottish witches.
“I’m fascinated with history and its relevance in our lives today,” Blakeley said. “It inspires me how people living in those times still have relevance, together with the themes of grief and loss that cross the barriers of space and time to unite us.
“One of the themes in The Oak Tree is honouring the past – just because something is dead in our time does not mean it should be forgotten.
“I also love ghosts in stories, as characters or metaphors for what they can represent, whether it be the past that needs to be acknowledged, things that haunt the living or as a messenger aiding the present.”
The Oak Tree plays at 8pm on January 18, 20, 21, 24, 25 and 27 at Peninsula Farm.