Sarah Kane wrote the play 4:48 Psychosis as she plummeted deeper into her despair. This is her final curtain fall, the finale of her creative life. Ironically she digs her lonely days of dirt with words that are crafted with epic beauty.
‘Love keeps me a slave in a cage of tears’
Sylvia Plath’s Bell Jar or Shakespeare’s Othello are fitting comparisons to a raw but majestic construction of words. Kane is a natural poet capable of building a visual palace out off the darkest recesses of her mind. Director Kendall-Jane Rundle chose a naked space to adorn the language.
Kane is terrified of banality.
‘Don’t shut off my mind’
‘Theres not a drug on Earth that can make this life meaningful’
The drug that Kane aches for is Hope.
‘I am charging toward my death.’
Despite the dark subject matter, it is a strong script, tailored direction and an absorbing performance.
The Director and principle Actor Kendall-Jane Rundle responded to the tiredness of Kane by using furniture that was muted rather than white to create the worn-out feel that the writer expresses. She toned down the delivery to create a realistic feel to the drama. On Thursday night an audience that suffered the affliction viewed the performance and claimed that it was an accurate portrayal of the condition.
Jeff Wortman played the Doctor and love interest of Kane’s character. In the performance his professional position kept him aloof from the desperation of his patient, she tries to pull him in and he tries to pull away. As an actor it was just as difficult to ‘turn off’ to the confronting content.
Without wanting to take her pain
Shane Grant created the lighting for the episodic depiction of Kane; rather than being a light that shines from above his lights chase her through the darkness and allows the audience to fold into the deeper layers of the script.
Class Act theatre updates an ancient play, The Winters Tale, by dressing the actors within a modern context. The audience are informed of the rank and occupation of the players through chiffon gowns,well cut suits and the Louis Vuitton luggage of the privileged class. The Mariner and shepherds are more roughly attired.
Katherine Innes role as Hermoine morphs her lines into this century with an Aussie twang and everyday gestures, which translates the material with natural ease. The strong cast dig into the tragedy, of a leader who has fallen victim to his own mind. The repercussions of his suspicions, spiels the leading class into the task of damage control.It takes fate to heal the wounds and bring back order.
MP spoke to The Designer, Jaz Wickson and The Director , Stephen Lee before the show.
“The show has wonderful feminist undertones. The three main women are Paulina (Angelique Malcom) the wise woman; Hermione (Katharinne Innes) who is the mother figure and goes through a terrible time,losing her daughter, her son,and then her own life; and there is Perdita (Ivy Latimer). There are many men but the women are stars.”
“With this production we’ve tried to keep it timeless. Think fairytale today, an Australian Fairytale. We have a very Australian Bohemia when we go there, with all of the accents.Design wise,its very ‘man from snowy river’ and the Court are dressed like they’re at a wedding, as this doesn’t change much.
With the set; Northcote Town Hall is an interesting space, its not a black box theatre, it has a hardwood floor so we integrated it. We used chiffon drapes, that the actors walk in and out of, we’re not hiding the space but rather enhancing it.For the centre piece, it’s a tree, with changes of season.”
How did you get involved with the program? MP
“I’ve been a designer for a few years now, I work with Class Act theatre, they have just moved their base from Perth to Melbourne, I do the costumes and set.”
Is it a traditional Shakespeare script?
“Yes, Our Director Steven Lee has directed over 30 Shakespeare plays.”
“This is probably my 35th Shakespeare play”
Where does that passion come from? MP
“When I was 18, I saw my first Shakespeare play and I was so captivated, it was nothing like I had done at school.”
What play was that? MP
“That was King Lear, it was with Donald Sinden, an actor people don’t know anymore. It was such a magical experience and I was transported. That was 40 odd years ago. I’ve probably directed a couple of hundred productions.”
What’s the shape of theatre in Australia? MP
“Theatre around the world is thin, it’s been overtaken by so many other forms of entertainment. Cinema is still hanging in there but television, video and the internet ….”
Why should people go to theatre? MP
“All these other forms of entertainment may be fine, but there is no immediacy like a direct performance for you. …That night is performed just for you and it will never be thesame on any other night.
It’s a special one-off thing just for that audience. It’s incredible, you’re joining with the actors , sharing in a unique experience.”
Tell me about Winters Tale. MP
” It’s about two Kings and one King starts to suspect the other of having an affair with his wife. It’s totally ungrounded as they have grown up together, since they were kids. Suddenly he believes he is being cheated on.
He tries to bring down the other King, that fails, then he tries to put his wife on trial for adultery… It gets blacker and blacker and blacker and in the second half, the time and place switches into a mood of redemption and reconciliation. It becomes funny, heart-warming and it has one of the most moving endings, of any Shakespeare play.”
How does this relate to modern times? MP
” We wear different clothes and talk slightly differently but we are still driven by the same things and ideas, feeling jealous or insecure, not trusting other people is the same now as it was four Centuries ago.”
The Insomnia Project by composer, writer and director, Natasha Moszenin, is a dramatic piece on the troublesome disorder of insomnia brought to life on the stage.
1 in 3 Australians suffer mild to extreme sleep deprivation and in our 24/7 lives we are increasingly becoming a ‘sleep-sick’ society. Insomnia and up to 70 other diagnosable sleep disorders underlie up to 70% of visits to GPs in Australia.
Natasha has been living with insomnia since she was a teenager. Having tried psychotherapy, herbs, restrictive diets, and meditation, she decided to create a music-theatre work about sleeplessness and the related conditions that surround it; anxiety and depression.
“ When a night can feel like a lifetime”
The play can be best understood by night stalkers that wait for day with both anxiety and relief. Anxiety because sleep deprivation undermines ones ability to function and relief because the long lonely hours are over.
“However vast the darkness we must supply our own light” Stanley Kubrick
Four actors shared the stage but remained in isolation. In a Kubrick style, the crowd were dragged through the condition and if they didn’t understand what insomniacs go through, they were not paying attention.
The Director and the Writer Natasha Moszenin provided the score, she played the piano as she watched the actors lumber, sleepless through the night. For insomniacs in the full audience it was a bonding into a community, when they thought they were alone.
Jan’s son, Jade Amantea constantly tests the boundaries of fear, he is a stunt man who loves risk. She has learnt to deal with the lifestyle that her son has chosen. She is proud of his achievements and knows that he is living his extreme life with pure satisfaction.
Jade’s career began as a teenager when he debuted on the TV program, Neighbours. Since then, he has jumped off buildings and drove recklessly through a catalogue of blockbusters. Jade Amantea is known for his work on Knowing (2009), The Wolverine (2013) and Predestination (2014). He is currently in Queensland with Johnny Depp working on the Pirates of the Caribbean.
The path Jade chose did not come without personal challenges and a crisis. As a child Jade had asthma but he did not let this prevent him from attending gymnastics, an activity that his mum encouraged. It was when he was practising somersault stunts, on a trampoline, that Jade twisted and fell badly on his leg.
His mother got the shocking news and demanded that no surgery be done on him until she could locate the best medical professionals to perform the operation. It was a delay that saved his leg. The surgeon told Jade that he would have to choose another career but he was resolved, to have a full recovery.
“It was through his determination, the support of his family, his girlfriend Stephie and his physio that he got back to where he was.” Jan sighs.
Jan is acutely aware of the risks that her son embraces. She winces when she sees him on fire, run down buildings and jump through basketball hoops. It’s not the life of an average mother.
“Its nerve racking but I’m very proud of him” Jan calmly states.
He began driving on his grandfather’s knee, back at the farm, where Jan grew up. He had his first motorbike when most children were given pushbikes. When Jade drives his mum, he likes to tease her with the occasional spin. Jan has learnt to hold on.
“He is a great driver, he can drive anything.” She states proudly.
Jade grew up in an environment that allowed him to develop strong physical ability. Jan encouraged his gymnastics, and continues to advocate it as an activity for children; she prefers it to group sports. It does not require a dependency on others and helps build children’s self esteem.
“Every kid should do gymnastics, they learn how to fall; how to look after their bodies and what muscles they have.” She explains.
Jade lives in the fast lane and loves it. His family and friends support him, and watch his feats with their hearts racing.