The Manifest is the name given to a passenger list on trains, buses, ships and aircraft. Of course, the word also means that which is evident or apparent. Lately the word has also meant to call into being, to make ‘manifest’ that which was hidden.
In the production of The Manifest a cast of nearly 30 talented students from Ballarat Clarendon College are presenting a unique and entertaining theatrical work. The play is Clarendon’s first physical theatre piece – there is no dialogue at all. The company tell the story through mime, dance, knockabout slapstick comedy and through the use of multi media projections. There is a ‘palm court orchestra’ – a small ensemble who accompany the action with live music. The Manifest is being performed in the Senior School Centre at night.
The play is essentially a road movie – a silent comedy about a bus which circles Australia. The bus Manifest list features a range of eccentric characters; Mog and Pog – an ageing married couple, Mr. Zen – a Japanese tourist who begins to glow green through the journey, Yob and Bull – two British hideous backpackers with a secret, human story; two Surveyors who measure everything they see,: Anne Skank – a girl from a rough background with an interest in spirituality; Cyd – a vivacious girl from Sydney and Melvin – an aesthetic young man from Melbourne. All their stories revolve around what is ‘manifest’ about them and their other sides – the stories that aren’t apparent at first. Woven through their story is the tale of a Drover and his wife who are searching the outback for each other and their missing child.
As the bus travels the country it arrives in significant locations such as Sydney; the Great Barrier Reef, the Daintree rainforest, Uluru, Broom, the Bungle Bungles and the Pinnacles. The bus driver, Buster, is a secretive and Puckish character with a magical edge. His real role becomes ‘manifest’ during the play.
The Manifest is a big challenge for the Drama Dept. at Ballarat Clarendon College. It is the largest scale Drama project that has been produced at Clarendon featuring a much larger cast than usual. The play has been specifically written for Clarendon and as such the production is a premiere season.