Unity’s Popcorn killers spill the beans

“Everyone in the play refuses to take responsibilty for themselves.”

“Everyone in the play refuses to take responsibilty for themselves.”

Photographs from rehearsals, including this one, suggest Liam Duncan’s “impulsive, violent and misogynistic” character Wayne gestures at his hostages with gun in hand. Pictures by Elenor Gill
Cast as mass murderers in the Unity Theatre production of Ben Elton’s satire Popcorn are Liam Duncan (left) and Scarlett Fawcett.

In comedian Ben Elton’s satirical play Popcorn, two psychopaths invade Tarantinoesque filmmaker Bruce Delamitri’s home. The pair’s across-state killing spree has been condemned in the media as a copycat version of the one in Delamitri’s film. In a bid to avoid the death penalty, murderers Wayne and Scout plan to force their hostage to publicly announce his movies are responsible for their crimes.

Cast as the two “Mall Murderers” for Unity Theatre’s production of the blackly comic play are Liam Duncan as Wayne and Scarlet Fawcett as Scout.

Liam Duncan

The murderers are not the only ones who deny responsibilty for their actions, says Duncan.

“Everyone in the play refuses to take responsibilty for themselves.”

This includes not just the murderers and movie maker but the public who are complicit in how the siege ultimately plays out.

Wayne points to cases in the US where people who have committed crimes such as the police ignition of racially-based riots and a woman who cuts off her rapist’s penis.

“He sees that and says ‘why should I take responsibility for killing all those people?’ The play ends up with the media trying to dodge responsibility. Society doesn’t take responsibility.”

Photographs from rehearsals suggest Duncan’s “impulsive, violent and misogynistic” character gestures at his hostages with gun in hand.

“The gun makes Wayne feel powerful,” says Duncan.

“It looks like a stressful situation, breaking into someone’s home, but he comes in, walks around and makes himself comfortable.”

The pair who go on a killing spree in the Quentin Tarantino-scripted, Oliver Stone-directed movie Natural Born Killers have been an inspiration for developing his character, says Duncan.

“Woody Harrelson had a Texan sort of an accent. I’m trying to make my accent as Texan as possible. In the novel the killers make specific references to being from Texas.”

Scarlett Fawcett

Scout is quite naive, says Fawcett.

“She is idealistic in that she thinks love makes everything OK. Because I read the book I had more of an idea of her character. The book goes into more depth. It goes more into Scout and Wayne’s back story. In the play are references to things that happen in the book.”

Wayne and Scout swing from one emotional extreme to another, she says.

“They are very bipolar. Even midway through a sentence you might swing into a completely different mood.”

Blame is a central theme of the play.

“It’s about the way society as a whole will find ways to push blame on to others.”

The play is fast-paced and very physical, says Fawcett. Now the actors are working more often without scripts in hand the physicality flows more.

Like Duncan, Fawcett enjoys the improvisational approach director Dave Hall allows them as they explore their characters and the story.

“Dave is letting us discover the characters for ourselves. He gives us a bit of freedom to do that.”

  • Popcorn, by Ben Elton. Unity Theatre April 13-20. Tickets $20 from i-Site

In comedian Ben Elton’s satirical play Popcorn, two psychopaths invade Tarantinoesque filmmaker Bruce Delamitri’s home. The pair’s across-state killing spree has been condemned in the media as a copycat version of the one in Delamitri’s film. In a bid to avoid the death penalty, murderers Wayne and Scout plan to force their hostage to publicly announce his movies are responsible for their crimes.

Cast as the two “Mall Murderers” for Unity Theatre’s production of the blackly comic play are Liam Duncan as Wayne and Scarlet Fawcett as Scout.

Liam Duncan

The murderers are not the only ones who deny responsibilty for their actions, says Duncan.

“Everyone in the play refuses to take responsibilty for themselves.”

This includes not just the murderers and movie maker but the public who are complicit in how the siege ultimately plays out.

Wayne points to cases in the US where people who have committed crimes such as the police ignition of racially-based riots and a woman who cuts off her rapist’s penis.

“He sees that and says ‘why should I take responsibility for killing all those people?’ The play ends up with the media trying to dodge responsibility. Society doesn’t take responsibility.”

Photographs from rehearsals suggest Duncan’s “impulsive, violent and misogynistic” character gestures at his hostages with gun in hand.

“The gun makes Wayne feel powerful,” says Duncan.

“It looks like a stressful situation, breaking into someone’s home, but he comes in, walks around and makes himself comfortable.”

The pair who go on a killing spree in the Quentin Tarantino-scripted, Oliver Stone-directed movie Natural Born Killers have been an inspiration for developing his character, says Duncan.

“Woody Harrelson had a Texan sort of an accent. I’m trying to make my accent as Texan as possible. In the novel the killers make specific references to being from Texas.”

Scarlett Fawcett

Scout is quite naive, says Fawcett.

“She is idealistic in that she thinks love makes everything OK. Because I read the book I had more of an idea of her character. The book goes into more depth. It goes more into Scout and Wayne’s back story. In the play are references to things that happen in the book.”

Wayne and Scout swing from one emotional extreme to another, she says.

“They are very bipolar. Even midway through a sentence you might swing into a completely different mood.”

Blame is a central theme of the play.

“It’s about the way society as a whole will find ways to push blame on to others.”

The play is fast-paced and very physical, says Fawcett. Now the actors are working more often without scripts in hand the physicality flows more.

Like Duncan, Fawcett enjoys the improvisational approach director Dave Hall allows them as they explore their characters and the story.

“Dave is letting us discover the characters for ourselves. He gives us a bit of freedom to do that.”

  • Popcorn, by Ben Elton. Unity Theatre April 13-20. Tickets $20 from i-Site
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sharyn morcom - 5 months ago
Saw this play last night . . . hard hitting and some superb acting. Well done David Hall. Liam Duncan was INCREDIBLE.

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