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The Age: Dreamers review

  • November 10, 2014
  • news

See article in its original context here by Rebecca Harkins-Cross for The Age.

Dreamers showcases hope in stunning cast led by Helen Morse

A reflective panel hangs at the rear of the stage, casting the real against its warped mirror image. Perceptions of Anne (Helen Morse) and Majid’s (Yomal Rajasinghe) relationship are distorted, too. The apparent transgression of older white woman taking up with a younger black man – both similarly isolated – becomes the focus for a community’s prejudice. Alienated subjects transpose their ennui into hatred.

Dreamers begins where Douglas Sirk’s melodrama, All That Heaven Allows (1955), and Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s reinterpretation, Ali: Fear Eats The Soul (1974), finished. This take isn’t anchored in a specific time or place, stressing continuity with these precursors but taking some sting out of the social critique.

Where those films dealt with class and race, respectively, here they coalesce. The poor man who is content regardless undermines the bourgeois existence, despised just as bitterly as the black other.

Playwright Daniel Keene creates an interplay between melodramatic and poetic modes that’s mirrored in Ariette Taylor’s direction. His observation is shrewd and funny yet has didactic proclivities, which Taylor counters with moments of levity.

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The Herald Sun: Dreamers – review

  • November 10, 2014
  • news

See article in its original context here by Kate Herbert for The Herald Sun.

IT IS more than 10 years since the last Daniel Keene and Ariette Taylor theatrical collaboration so Dreamers, their new production, was awaited with eager anticipation.

Dreamers has some of the hallmarks of those much-loved, early Keene/Taylor Theatre Project works: pressing contemporary social issues, championing of underdogs and outsiders, an impeccable cast, unexpected choreography and sparse design (Adrienne Chisholm).

Anne (Helen Morse), a lonely widow struggling to make a living from sewing piecework, begins an unexpected love affair with Majid (Yomal Rajasinghe), an equally isolated but much younger man who is a recent immigrant.

Because Majid is not only young but also dark-skinned, their relationship initially raises eyebrows and silent disapproval, but this simmering intolerance and antagonism soon escalates into unbridled racism and abuse.

Their neighbours — the banal and the bigoted — target difference and disadvantage, creating a non-existent enemy that these hypocrites can blame for their own malaise and sense of dispossession.

Morse is one of Melbourne’s most accomplished and admired actors and her portrayal of the reserved and dignified Anne is delicate, intimate and nuanced.

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Arts Review: On the Couch with Helen Morse

  • November 8, 2014
  • news

See article in its original context here by Arts Review.

Who is Helen Morse?
A player of many parts.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
Devote more time to furthering my own projects. Join the Tivoli Lovelies tap class.

Who inspires you and why?
Malala Yousefzai. Shot in the face when she was fifteen by a Taliban assassin who boarded her school bus, she survived and continues to speak out for the education of girls and the rights of all children – including the sons and daughters of the Taliban and all terrorists. The writer Helen Garner for the rigour of her thought and her ability to reveal the truth of our lives.

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The Daily Review: Dreamers

  • October 31, 2014
  • news

See article in its original context here by Andrew Fuhrmann for The Daily Review.

Keene/Taylor Project back in the saddle

For anyone who first started seeing independent theatre in Melbourne in the mid 2000s, the names Daniel Keene and Ariette Taylor loomed large. Even half a decade after their last collaboration, people were still talking. The Keene/Taylor Theatre Project, a small ensemble established in 1997, was the default comparison for those who knew. It was a template for what independent theatre should feel like, the aura it should create: audiences thrilled by the discovery of a hidden artistic world outside the usual institutions. It gave us, the ones who weren’t there, something to look for, a feeling intimate and direct.

And when we made our own discoveries — in warehouses in Northcote, above bars on Smith Street, or wherever — what we felt was not only a sense of excitement and community but, too, a sense of continuity with the past. The scene was larger and more alive and more significant for the recognition. It felt more like a real culture.

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The Age: Dreamers

  • October 31, 2014
  • news

See article in its original context here by Cameron Woodhead for The Age.

Daniel Keene’s French play on racism, Dreamers, translates perfectly to Australian dialect

The European is an apt venue for coffee with Daniel Keene. He’s one of the two contemporary Australian playwrights (the other is Joanna-Murray Smith) best known overseas, and has an established reputation in France. That’s where Dreamers, which opens at fortyfivedownstairs this week, was originally commissioned. And that’s where it was first performed, by Toulouse-based company Tabula Rasa, in 2011.

This production will be its English-language premiere, and marks a one-off resurrection of Keene’s creative partnership with Ariette Taylor. Together, they started The Keene/Taylor Theatre Project, an independent theatre powerhouse that produced an impressive 47 productions over 17 seasons from 1997-2002 and has attained the quality of legend in the development of Melbourne’s indie theatre scene.

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Theatre Alive: Dreamers

  • October 24, 2014
  • news

See article in its original context here by Theatre Alive.

DANIEL KEENE AND ARIETTE TAYLOR REUNITE FOR DREAMERS

fortyfivedownstairs are thrilled to bring together the extraordinary creative team of Ariette Taylor and Daniel Keene for the first time in over a decade. Previously collaborating in the highly successful and ground breaking Keene Taylor Theatre Project, which ran from 1997 until 2002, together they have presented seventeen seasons of works; a total of 47 productions, including full length and short plays.

Their latest work explores a young man’s experience trying to establish himself in a new country, amid growing fear and animosity as he begins a relationship with an older woman.

Dreamers
deals with questions at the heart of contemporary life – the struggle against intolerance, the fear of difference and a love that is perceived as inappropriate.

We chatted with Ariette Taylor in the lead-up to the season…

This reunion with Daniel has been a long time coming. How does a 10 year break impact on the creative partnership and process?

After a very exciting six years of working together, it seemed right to give it a break. Daniel went to work in France and is enjoying a successful career, and me coming home to grandchildren, travel and various art projects.

It’s wonderful to be working with his words again. His work has grown deeper, funnier and become more complex. A great challenge for all of us!

Do you think theatre can help to break down intolerance?

Theatre can do all kinds of things; most of all communicate love, humanity, mystery and delight, but it needs people to come to share it.

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ArtsHub: Dreamers

  • October 23, 2014
  • news

See article in its original context here by Caroline Tung for ArtsHub.

A winning writer-director partnership will debut a production of an unconventional social more on the Australian stage.

Acclaimed Australian playwright Daniel Keene and director Ariette Taylor will collaborate with designer Adrienne Chisolm to bring a new production ofDreamers to Melbourne arts venue fortyfivedownstairs.

A first for Australian audiences, the play portrays struggles against intolerance, racism and exclusion through its central character Anne, a 60-year-old woman who begins a relationship with a much younger man of a different race.

The original play was performed in French by the Tabula Rasa theatre company.

The Australian premiere will be performed in English, with no specific setting.

Artistic director Mary Lou Jelbart calls this theatre partnership ‘a gift to Australia’, praising Keene’s consistent approach in creating powerful plays.

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Melbourne. Arts. Fashion: Dreamers

  • October 23, 2014
  • news

See article in its original context here by Samsara Dunston for Melbourne. Arts. Fashion.

Dreamers – Keene & Taylor together again

For the first time in over a decade, fortyfivedownstairs is delighted to bring together again this extraordinary creative team – writer Daniel Keene and director Ariette Taylor with designer Adrienne Chisholm – to present the Australian premiere of Dreamers at fortyfivedownstairs from 6 – 30 November 2014.

Mary Lou Jelbart, fortyfivedownstairs founder and artistic director, said it’s difficult to express just how exciting it is that Daniel Keene and Ariette Taylor are again working together to present Dreamers in Australia, “The collaboration between these two talented artists produced some of the most unforgettable theatre I have ever seen.”

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The Age: The Sound of Waves

  • October 8, 2014
  • news

See review in its original context here by Cameron Woodhead for The Age.

There’s an extraordinary real life story behind The Sound of Waves. The one-woman show is inspired by the experiences of profoundly deaf actor Jodie Harris, who midway through training at the VCA, received a cochlear implant and had to learn to negotiate a whole new stage of sound.

Playwright Gareth Ellis dives into Harris’s emotional landscape – or seascape, actually – through whimsical submarine allegory.

Harris adopts an alter-ego, a girl called Shelley whose primary school teacher, Mrs Black, has some sort of hideous personality disorder and is constantly threatening to kill off her students in gruesome ways. The caricature of this horrible teacher might be reason enough to daydream, but Shelley’s flights of fancy are unusually surreal and immersive.

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The Age: Elizabeth I: The Last Dance

  • October 2, 2014
  • news

See article in its original context here by John Bailey for The Age. First chance to see Kemp's Last Dance It's been more than 30 years since the great theatre maverick Lindsay Kemp toured Australia, long enough that even those who…

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Arts Review: The Sound of Waves

  • October 2, 2014
  • news

See article in its original context here by the Arts Review.

On the Couch with Naomi Edwards

Who is Naomi Edwards?
A theatre and opera director. A lover of music and science and coffee.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
I would worry less, play more. Be in the moment and in the next.

Who inspires you and why?
Children inspire me with their wonder at the world, their fresh insights and ancient wisdom. Political protesters inspire me with their effort and passion for change. Refugees with their courage and humility. My collaborators with their energy, smarts and rigor.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I hope for an Australia that is more empathetic, more imaginative and capable of greater critical thinking. Theatre can develop and exercise these capacities simultaneously, and I try to do it on and through the kind of shows I work on.

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KATE DURHAM: ARTIST OR ACTIVIST?

  • September 24, 2014
  • news

See article in its original context here by Raymond Gill for Daily Review.

The Decorated Self is at fortyfivedownstairs, 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne until October 11.Picture of cabaret artist Moira Finucane with Kate Durham wearing Durham works courtesy of Janice Breen Burns voxfrock.com.au

Before Kate Durham (pictured right) became an activist for refugees’ rights she was an artist.

In the 1980s her extravagant, bejewelled, and jumbled glass and plaster jewellery, head-pieces, drawings, paintings, sculptures, busts, mirrors, frames and even furniture, were in stark contrast to the dark minimalism creeping into every area of art, design and architecture.

Durham’s anti-fashion fashion with its shards, scraps, remnants and rubbish created a sort of urban tribalism. In the case of her jewellery, which she exhibited from Tokyo to New York to London, it seemed to demand a certain confidence, defiance or even contrariness of its wearer.

Since the late 1990s when she met the human rights lawyer, Julian Burnside (now her husband), she has been an activist for the rights of refugees attempting asylum in Australia. That too requires a confidence, defiance and contrariness as she (and he) front the apathy of many Australians and the chest-thumping fear mongering of conservative media and politicians.

After many years Durham has returned to jewellery making in an exhibition of 140 works titled “The Decorated Self” at Melbourne’s fortyfivedownstairs gallery from tomorrow until October 11.

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Stage Whispers: PARADE – review

  • September 23, 2014
  • news

See review in its original context here by Coral Drouyn for Stage Whispers.

In one remarkable night of theatre last week we cried, were horrified, grew angry and outraged, had our hearts broken, marvelled and finally stood and cheered to toast the birth of a new theatre company – The Collective – and its remarkable gift to us all – Jason Robert Brown’s and Alfred Uhry’s sensational multi award (including Tonys for book and score) winning Parade. A critical success but a box office failure (one can imagine how Americans hated to see their bigotry “paraded” on stage), Parade is having its professional Australian debut here in Melbourne – and how blessed we are. Could musical theatre possibly get any better than this?

The true story of a quiet and dignified Jewish businessman, accused of an horrific crime he didn’t commit, and the travesty of a trial that follows, hardly seems the material for a musical…but then neither does Next to Normalor Spring Awakening. To be treated, as an audience, like thinking, caring, and compassionate human beings is a rarity. Yes it’s a harrowing show, but the rewards are enormous, the music is glorious and, in this case, the production and cast are so outstanding that you feel privileged to be allowed to participate in some small way.

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★★★★1/2 ArtsHub review: PARADE

  • September 23, 2014
  • news

See review in its original context here by Reuben Liversidge for ArtsHub.

One of those rare occasions where creative team, cast and performance space combine in perfect symbiosis to present a fantastic piece of theatre.

Timothy Springs as Jim Conley. Image by Angus Scott.

Jason Robert Brown and Alfred Uhry’s Parade is pretty much as dark as music theatre gets. The plot details the real life case of the murder of thirteen-year-old Mary Phagan (Jemma Plunkett) and the criminal trial and subsequent conviction of prime suspect Leo Frank (Luigi Lucente) in Marietta, Georgia in 1913. Frank was a Brooklyn native of Jewish descent who married Southern woman Lucille Selig (Laura Fitzpatrick) and he was Mary’s boss at the pencil factory where she was employed. The events caused a national sensation while highlighting the corrupt nature of the judicial system and the anti-Semitic underbelly of the community. A lynch mob hanged Frank after his sentence was reduced to life in prison following a lengthy appeal process.

While this might not sound as the typical basis for a musical, the authors juxtapose the grim nature of the events with the burgeoning passionate relationship between Leo and Lucille. We witness their marriage develop from a somewhat cold union to unconditional love and respect. Through a seamless integration of music and drama Parade is undeniably provocative and highly emotional; Uhry’s book is challenging and fast-paced while Brown’s thrilling score is at once incredibly intricate and sweepingly romantic. While not an initial success in its late 90s Broadway debut, Parade has developed a reverence amongst music theatre devotees and was retooled for its London premiere in 2007. This production is based on that incarnation of the show.
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★★★★ Theatre People review: PARADE

  • September 23, 2014
  • news

See review in its original context here by Chris Hughes for Theatre People.


Parade
tells the story of Leo Frank, a factory manager who in 1913 was accused of raping and murdering a thirteen year old girl.  The book by Alfred Uhry and music by Broadway legend Jason Robert Brown sets a rather ugly story against a truly beautiful score. It’s a heavy piece with only an occasional smattering of dark comedy. It’s a lot to get through.  New kids on the block, The Collective theatre company, have taken a bold approach to a challenging piece and have delivered a show that audiences will adore.

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Standing (inn)Ovation: PARADE- review

  • September 23, 2014
  • news

See review in its original context here by Standing (inn)Ovation.

THE COLLECTIVE’S PARADE – REIMAGINING THE THEATRICAL EXPERIENCE

When Parade opened on Broadway back in 1998, it unfortunately didn’t resonate with audiences closing only 89 performances later. In their current production of Parade, The Collective have completely reimagined the theatrical experience and found what the original Broadway production was missing to create an incredibly moving and involving piece of immersive theatre.

Parade dramatizes the 1913 trial of Jewish factory manager Leo Frank who was accused and convicted of murdering a thirteen-year-old girl. Confronting media sensationalism and anti-Semitism in the southern states of America, this musical broaches some pretty difficult topics complemented by an incredibly varied score by the every underappreciated Jason Robert Brown.

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Simon Parris: PARADE- review

  • September 23, 2014
  • news

See review in its original context here by Simon Parris his blog Man in Chair.

The Australian professional premiere of harrowing musical drama Parade is blessed with ingenious staging and compelling performances from its superb cast.

Revered for Jason Robert Brown’s Tony Award-winning score, Parade has been a favourite of music theatre enthusiasts since its all too brief Broadway season in 1999. This production uses the streamlined cast and reduced orchestrations of the 2008 Donmar Warehouse version. Besides being a most welcome premiere from a brand new company, the production is set apart by its canny use of fortyfive downstairs to create an intimate staging that is all the more riveting for its immersive design.

A true “concept” musical, on par with Cabaret and CompanyParade is an unflinching examination of the variable forces that govern human nature. Alfred Uhry’s book presents society’s role in Leo Frank’s brutally unjust downfall as unthinkable and yet inevitable. A clever contrast in the two acts shows how bad news spreads like wildfire whereas truth and justice are a much slower burn.

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Theatre Press: PARADE- review

  • September 23, 2014
  • news

See review in its original context here by Bradley Storer for Theatre Press.

New Melbourne company The Collective make their theatrical debut with the first professional production in Australia of Jason Robert Brown’s modern classicParade, a tale of injustice, prejudice and murder in early 20th-century Atlanta.
Luigi Lucente as Leo Frank, the Jewish factory superintendent who is accused of murdering young Mary Phagan (Jemma Plunkett), turns in a performance perfect from head to toe. Lucente portrays Frank as a man whose alienation from the community has left him a lonely sensitive soul with a icy, defensive exterior – not shying away from the more strident aspects of Frank’s personality, Lucente intertwines them in such a way that they strike a delicious note of ambiguity over whether Frank is capable of committing murder. His plain-spoken appeal to the jury, ‘It’s Hard to Speak My Heart’, is heartrendingly beautiful.
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Aussie Theatre: PARADE

  • September 22, 2014
  • news

See review in its original context here by Erin James for Aussie Theatre.

Australian Professional Premiere of Parade opens in Melbourne

Melbourne’s newest professional theatre company The Collective are making waves in the independent music theatre scene this week, with the opening of their debut production Parade, by Jason Robert Brown.

Staged at the little space that could, fortyfivedownstairs, this production features some of Australia’s brightest music theatre talent in a cast led by Rob Guest Endowment finalist Luigi Lucente and Melbourne independent theatre darling Laura Fitzpatrick.

Playing until September 28, Parade tells the controversial yet true story of the 1913 murder trial of Jewish factory manager Leo Frank in Atlanta, Georgia. The show’s title refers to the annual parade held on Confederate Memorial Day, for it was on that day in 1913 that the murder took place. The parade (which is seen at the start, middle and end of the musical to mark the passing of years) was a rallying point for proud Southerners still affected by their defeat in the Civil War.

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The Age: PARADE- review

  • September 22, 2014
  • news

See review in its original context here by Rebecca Harkins-Cross for The Age.

The Collective’s Parade explores the unsettling case of Leo Frank

While greats like Stephen Sondheim have repeatedly demonstrated that the musical is not only a place for lightness and frippery, Parade explores a particularly dark chapter of American history: the death in 1915 of Leo Frank, a Jew persecuted and lynched for a murder he didn’t commit.

There’s something rightly unsettling about a crowd of rosy-cheeked patriots singing about the former glory of Georgia beneath a Confederate Flag, and not only because that zeal will soon turn savage. The tone never quite befits the grave subject matter.

James Cutler has directed a very watchable production, delivered by a vigorous ensemble, but the play itself niggles somewhat. The audience is positioned like onlookers in the courtroom, but we’re never given the true drama of that theatre. The bible-waving publisher (David Price) baying for blood is a cartoonish bad guy, goading the ambitious prosecutor Hugh Dorsey (Tod Strike) and flaming small-town hysteria.

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Beat Magazine: The Sound of Waves

  • September 19, 2014
  • news

See article in its original context here for Beat Magazine.

The Sound Of Waves Coming To fortyfivedownstairs

fortyfivedownstairs will present Gareth Ellis’ The Sound of Waves for a run of shows this October.

The Sound Of Waves focuses on Shelly, a normal girl who unexpectedly finds herself becoming more fish-like everyday until she decides to take refuge in the sea. One day, finding that the sea is not enough, she now must search for a way to walk on land again.

Some six years in the making, the allegorical play tells the tale of performer/creator Jodie Harris losing her hearing, receiving a cochlear implant and the impact that had on her life. She worked closely with writer Gareth Ellis and director Naomi Edwards on the piece.

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PARADE: Theatre People

  • September 16, 2014
  • news

See article in its original context here by Allison Hilbig for Theatre People.

The real life mystery of Parade: was Leo Frank innocent or guilty?

With book by Alfred Uhry and music and lyrics by Jason Robert Brown, Parade tells the true story of the trial of Jewish factory worker, Leo Frank, who was accused and convicted of raping and murdering a 13 year old employee in Atlanta, Georgia in 1913.

Luigi Lucente (Rocky Horror Show, Pippin, The Last 5 Years, Assassins, Wicked, Jersey Boys, Guys and Dolls) plays the lead role of Leo Frank. In preparation for this role, Lucente undertook extensive research: reading books, searching the internet, watching documentaries and mini series. What he discovered was that 100 years later, this story is still a hotly debated topic with people fiercely divided about what they thought really happened. As Lucente says, “The first casualty of Parade, in my mind, is the truth.”

Certain elements of the story have been extrapolated for dramatic effect but these are minor details within the show. What remains is a fairly true depiction of what actually took place – something Lucente refers to as “hauntingly scary.”

During the first rehearsals the cast spent some time sifting through all their research to understand what really took place. Lucente described it as a very collaborative process, with everyone submitting ideas from  their individual research. While the cast need to be true to the text, the research helped to inform them of the differing opinions and assisted in the establishment of their characters.

Lucente describes the show as an incredibly rich tapestry of mystery, lies and secrets. The writing is crafted in such a way that the audience (and even the performers) are not necessarily certain if Leo Frank is indeed guilty or innocent. Intrigued, I asked Lucente how the show will leave audiences – is there a resolution? Lucente expects the show will linger with audiences for some time. Parade does not attempt to resolve this true story – there still remains divided speculation about whether Leo Frank was indeed innocent or guilty.

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DREAMERS: The Age- Treading the Boards

  • September 16, 2014
  • news

Read article in its original context here by John Bailey for The Age Dream team of Daniel Keene and Ariette Taylor reunite for Dreamers The creative collaborations by playwright Daniel Keene and director Ariette Taylor that went under the moniker of…

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★★★★ ArtsHub review: Waking Up Dead

  • September 9, 2014
  • news

See review in its original context here by Mark Brandi for ArtsHub.

Trudy Hellier builds the reality of a fragile life and loves, and in doing so creates a sympathy bordering on kinship.

The swingers’ scene. A secret double-life. A tryst that ended in murder.

In Waking Up Dead, writer Trudy Hellier goes behind the headlines to expose the tragedy of those left behind.

A successful businessman inexplicably vanishes following a business trip, leaving a wife bereft and police scrambling. A business deal gone wrong? Revenge? An affair? The truth, however, was more shocking than anyone imagined.

Caroline Lee (Bell Shakespeare, MTC) is the widow, poring over the fragments of the life she shared. Lee embodies a brittle tenacity as she grieves not just for a lost husband, but for a life they had created together – a life now rendered a fraud.

Lee is outstanding. She delivers a searing but measured one-hour monologue spanning twenty-five years. Sparsely staged on a large sheet of white paper, Lee retraces their past and illustrates the icons of her memories: the cheap furnishings of a share house; the window of their first apartment; the office they shared as business flourished and their family grew.

The use of illustrated outlines in the set is reminiscent of Lars Von Trier’s Dogville. This sparse environment cleverly focuses the audience on the intensity of the storytelling.

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★★★★ THE HERALD SUN review: Waking Up Dead

  • September 9, 2014
  • news

See review in its original context here by Kate Herbert for The Herald Sun.

IMAGINE waking up one day to discover that your partner has died in mysterious circumstances and that he was living a secret and disturbing double life.

Such is the distressing and poignant experience of the woman in Waking Up Dead, written by Trudy Hellier and developed with imagination and vision by collaborators Susie Dee (director), Caroline Lee (actor) and Ian Moorhead (sound designer).

Lee is quietly compelling as this reserved, conservative woman, playing her with a haunted and bewildered quality that epitomises her grief and masks her repressed but seething rage.

She is confined to a cell-like space that is framed by a white paper wall and floor that create an atmosphere of entrapment, but also a sense of privacy as the woman struggles to make sense of her life and her grief.

The white environment also provides her with blank surfaces upon which to sketch her memories of her past life with the man she no longer recognises as her husband.

She starts her story in 1980, then moves forward chronologically by increments to 2007, scribbling dates, notes and quotes, and sketching furniture that identifies locations and conjures a black and white landscape of her murky past.

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Waking Up Dead: Theatre Press – review

  • September 9, 2014
  • news

See review in its original context here by Myron My for Theatre Press.

A blank sheet and a black crayon

In Waking Up Dead, writer Trudy Hellier explores what happens to a woman when her husband dies in an unexpected and shocking way, only then to discover he was also leading a double life.

With direction from Susie DeeCaroline Lee succeeds in captivating our attention with her portrayal of the grieving woman. Her fragility is evident throughout and you can see her slowly unraveling as she recalls moments of her life with her husband, leading up to that fatal moment and beyond.

Her dialogue is delivered earnestly and from the heart, and Hellier has created a script that really captures the emotions and reactions a person feels when not only someone they love dies, but also someone they love turns out to not be who they thought they were. Ian Moorhead’s sound design is used effectively with interspersed sound bites throughout Waking Up Dead. TV news reports and police interviews all point to the inevitable and add more despair to Lee’s character’s story.

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The Decorated Kate

  • September 9, 2014
  • news

See article in its original context here by Amy Campbell for Melbourne. Arts. Fashion.

Kate Durham in her studio - Photo by Amy Campbell

An invitation to sip tea and talk trinkets with Kate Durham is not something one stumbles across everyday.

But if you ever find yourself ringing the doorbell to her eclectic home, notebook in hand and excitement uncontainable, I can promise you it will be an afternoon well spent.

Jewellery designer, Co-founder of the Fashion Design Council, Refugee Advocate and charming soul, Durham’s accolades and charisma are just as decorated as the treasures she creates. Thus, it makes perfect sense her upcoming exhibition is titled The Decorated Self. A collation of her most recent work, the show embraces age, femininity and the socially subdued freedom to indulge in ‘a little dressing up’.

“In a sense, I’ve taken up where I left off in the ‘80s,” Durham explains, “but my early jewellery was much brasher, more overtly funny… I think this jewellery still contains little jokes, but it’s a bit wiser… more muted. Less judgemental, perhaps.”

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Waking Up Dead: The Age – review

  • September 9, 2014
  • news

See review in its original context here by Cameron Woodhead for The Age.

Waking Up Dead appears to be inspired by the Herman Rockefeller murder. The successful Melbourne businessman led a sordid double life, and his grisly killing at the hands of swingers unearthed it for all to see, leaving his family to cope not only with sudden loss but also the humiliation of the sensational circumstances around his death.

Trudy Hellier’s play represents an empathic engagement with what a wife thrust into such a horrific situation might feel, how she might reflect on and reassess the course of her life, and her marriage.

The prime visual gambit in this one-woman show is to use blank paper for the set, which is drawn on with charcoal, ex tempore, as the story emerges. It’s a winning device, adding a contingent, cartoonish dimension to the act of remembrance.

The script and Caroline Lee’s performance are both at their best in describing the contours of love, from youthful infatuation in a student house in the early ’80s to raising a family. And later, in presenting the wife’s gradually acquired habit of turning a blind eye to her husband’s infidelity.

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Durham seeks refuge in her jewellery

  • September 9, 2014
  • news

See review in its original context here by Suzanne Carbone for The Age.

Kate Durham with some of her latest work. Photo: Luis Ascui

There is no minimalist art for Kate Durham, the maximalist aesthete with distinctive spectacles. While doing a post-graduate diploma of fine art at the VCA, the rebel with a cause winced at the austere preaching that blank was best. “I’m not interested in single-statement art,” she said.

Walking through her magnificent Hawthorn home, the wife of Julian Burnside, QC, points out the art: Bill Henson, Juan Davila, contemporary Chinese embroidery and a framed relief she made of John Howard drowning on a boat.

That’s a bold symbol of her campaign for refugees that began in 2001 when the Tampa freighter was refused entry after carrying 438 Afghani refugees. The human-rights campaigning of “Burnside” – as his wife calls him – is public knowledge but as a private reminder, on their wall is a postcard of Jesus, the word “Refugee” and his heart surrounded by thorns.

The artist and jeweller, who calls herself a “wild child”, was expelled at 16 for “political activity” and incensed during the Vietnam War. The Tampa incident spurred the proud Labor voter to drop her creative tools and establish Spare Rooms for Refugees, a project to provide community accommodation. She opened her door to several refugees.

Afghani refugee, Mosa, 21 has lived with the couple for 11 years as their foster son and is studying nursing and paramedics. “He loves fashion, too,” Ms Durham said.

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