He was a superhero — people gave him adoring looks wherever he went and said things like “I bet your mum feels safe with you around”.
This was the catalyst for including a cape in this year’s production, some kind of self-appointed superhero.
My incessant need to write to-do lists was also an inspiration. By their very nature, lists are a way for us to feel organised, to bring some structure to our chaotic lives, maybe even give us some direction and purpose, and allow us to grow in some small way.
The ASPIRE production 365 Questions, Issues and Good Deeds takes place over the course of a year and charts the highs and lows of myriad characters whose lives intersect, many of them making their own lists in an attempt to achieve something or grow in their own way.
“This year’s production demonstrates the many ups and downs that come with life, but also how these pushbacks allow us to grow and define us as an individual,” said Sophia Holz, Year 11 student at All Saints’ College, St Mary’s Campus, Maitland, who plays the character of Laura.
While this year’s production has many themes and intersecting storylines, the one surrounding the character of Ollie and his good deeds is designed to resonate with all of us.
Ollie decides, as a New Year’s resolution, to do a good deed for someone else every day for a year. He becomes proud of his good deeds and decides they make him an everyday superhero to the point that he starts wearing a cape.
I don’t want to give away anymore of the story, but suffice to say he realises good deeds do not need to be proclaimed to make an impact.
We all know it is important to be a good person, but sometimes we place our own intentions and wants ahead of potential good deeds.
Whether it is maintaining social standing, acting in frustration or just wanting something so much we lose sight of what is actually the right thing to do, it happens to all of us. It is a part of growing up, and the tug-of-war between doing the good deed and following our own agenda never truly ends.
“Life is about putting yourself out there, not always taking the easy road,” said Ben Doran, Year 10 student from St Pius X High School, Adamstown, who plays Ollie.
“Through the rehearsal process so far I’ve found that we can learn so much about ourselves from these characters. In my case, it’s not always about the recognition you receive for doing things, but instead the pride and feelings of joy you receive inside yourself that is important.”
One beautiful project that has come out of this year’s production is the Caped Crusader Awards. In the lead-up to the show, primary schools across the Diocese will be handing out these awards during their weekly assemblies to students who they have seen being kind to others and doing good deeds in line with our Catholic values.
Theatre is a vital tool for placing our society under a microscope, and this year the characters and relationships depict many situations that will resonate with all audiences.
As with all ASPIRE productions, it is our hope that audiences recognise themselves and those around them in many of the characters they see onstage. And it is my hope that everyone will get out and do a good deed for someone else today, and maybe even start wearing a cape …
To find out more about this year’s ASPIRE production on 31 July-3 August, head to the ASPIRE website https://aspire.mn.catholic.edu.au/365-questions-issues-and-good-deeds/.