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Melita Jurisic goes from Mad Max to the Malthouse

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MELITA Jurisic, last seen playing a warrior woman in Mad Max Fury Road, is now on stage at the Malthouse Theatre in the guise of a teenage soldier.

“I LIKE to be in a production that takes me beyond anything in my imagination,’’ says Melita Jurisic.

This versatile Australian actor got her wish playing a warrior woman in George Miller’s movie Mad Max Fury Road. Now, in I Am A Miracle at Malthouse Theatre, Jurisic is being asked to transform herself into a teenage soldier. Not just that, a soldier in the 18th century in a Dutch colony.

“I know it’s going to be very hard work each night,’’ she says. “But for me, its gratifying. Challenging.’’

Monumental in scope, I Am A Miracle spans three continents and two hundred and forty years. Declan Greene’s shapeshifting play — inspired by the words of a death row prisoner — is not for the timid either. It comes with a warning about “dynamic sound and lighting and some adult language’’.

But Jurisic is all for danger in the theatre.

“I always go with a hope in my heart that it will be a powerful experience,’’ she says. “One that leaves me shattered and enriched and moved in unexpected ways. Why not?”

This forward stance explains why European-born Jurisic has often accepted invitations to work with expat Melbourne director Barrie Kosky, both here and overseas.

As she says: “Barrie’s courage and passion is formidable … I love it when he goes to certain extremes.’’

Has Jurisic found a sure-fire way of working?

“No. Every time I go into a production, I have no idea how I’ll go about it. Then, almost by osmosis, you surrender to the process. Hopefully without fear. The thing is to believe in the creative journey and see where that takes you.’’

For Jurisic, “a certain level of trepidation is always valuable. You have to make confident choices, even if they’re wrong and keep exploring the extremities of the character you’re playing.’’

Are there any limits?

“Well, you have to go there to know what to come back from. Theatre needs to be as intense as real life. Perhaps even more.’’

As for Mad Max Fury Road, Jurisic enjoyed a private screening and was “very impressed by how everything came together. It was extraordinary.”

I Am A Miracle runs at the Malthouse Theatre until August 9. Bookings: 9685 5111 or malthousetheatre.com.au

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