Manjimup actor takes the stage for new play

Former Manjimup actor Michael Balmer plays Derrick, the husband of Grace (Sharon Menzies) in The Greening of Grace. Photo: supplied.
Former Manjimup actor Michael Balmer plays Derrick, the husband of Grace (Sharon Menzies) in The Greening of Grace. Photo: supplied.

Former Manjimup actor Michael Balmer is finding some people just won’t let go of their political beliefs, especially in old age.

But in his latest play at the Stirling Theatre in Innaloo, there’s also an exception to every rule.

Written by Australian actor William Zappa and directed by Tim Riessen, The Greening of Grace highlights that every individual has the power to change the world and focuses on a woman who changes her politics after traumatic life events.

Mr Balmer plays Grace’s husband Derrick, an elderly, retired blue collar worker with strong political views that clash with his daughter’s opinions and lifestyle. 

“This, along with his poor health, tends to make him come across as a grumpy old man,” he said.

“But his love for his wife is what keeps him grounded.

“My main challenge is looking 20 years older and 20kg lighter.”

First performing with Manjimup Repertory Club in the early 1980s, Mr Balmer has performed extensively with Stirling Theatre and Playlovers over the years.

He was named best supporting actor for his role in The Judas Kiss at the 2006 Finley Awards.

“The Greening of Grace appealed because I liked the role and had worked with director Tim Riessen before,” Mr Balmer said.

Mr Riessen said he was inspired to direct the show with a strong character in the title role.

“I was also drawn to the play because it retains an Australian flavor,” he said.

“The play is told from Grace’s perspective, in retrospect, providing an insight into how her family provided a catalyst for the change.

“The biggest challenge comes from Grace acting as the narrator – allowing her to tell her story is crucial but it’s not a one-person show. 

“Making sure all the characters develop their influence on the overall direction of the play is important.”

Joining The Greening of Grace on the same bill is Lady Willpower, a gentle comedy of bad manners, deceit and a battle of siblings over a £30 million estate.

Both are being presented under the banner of “Grace and Willpower” and play at 8pm on February 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 21, 22 and 23, with 2pm matinees on February 10 and 17.

Tickets can be booked through Morris News on 9446 9120 or at www.trybooking.com/YUAE.