Sydney based actor and youth worker Monica Kumar on learning new languages for the role and the incredible socio-political backdrop to the production.
What did you expect when you were cast in Counting and Cracking?
I was really excited to be cast in Counting and Cracking because I was lucky enough to have been given the full play and I thought the play was really wonderful and wonderfully written and something I had no idea about, which was really terrifying considering it only happened 10 years ago; less than 10 years ago.
As for what I expected, I expected it to be a lot of hard work and so far it has been. Just reading it and understanding the context of the civil war, which is a quite recent thing, and getting the complexity of that across to the audience without any bias. Also learning the different languages and the different contexts in which those languages are spoken. It was a lot to learn.
I hadn’t really considered how difficult the translations would be, and I also didn’t consider that even with all the other languages being spoken the audience still needs to understand what’s going on.
What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced so far?
I guess the biggest challenges so far have been the languages, and also making sure that we’re doing the play justice and the story and context justice. We need to make sure that people who are from Sri Lanka and have a close relationship to the civil war can look at it and feel it’s been presented with an unbiased eye.
What are you most enjoying so far?
I’m most enjoying working with the wonderful cast, everyone is so talented and hardworking and generous. Also, everyone is from such different backgrounds and we’re all just learning from each other every day; I’d say that’s the best thing.
What does being a part of counting and cracking mean to you?
It’s really exciting to do a new work that is really relevant to now but also something that is about a period in modern history that I’m going to assume a lot of people didn’t and still don’t know about. Personally I feel like Australia being so close to Asia means that I should’ve known about a civil war going on, and I didn’t, and it was happening when I was in high school.
And so that’s been really exciting, having new ideals about what Australian work and the Australian canon is going to be.
Why should people come and see the show?
People should come and see the show because it’s a great script, with a great cast, and you get fed!
That’s my biggest sell, how often do you get fed! Also it’s a wonderful story and everyone’s worked really hard for it.