In 2009, with Artistic Director Chris Drummond at the helm, Brink Productions produced the multi award winning and highly acclaimed When the Rain Stops Falling starring Kris McQuade and Paul Blackwell. This talented trio are united again, this time presenting a new theatrical adaption of a story by Patrick White who is widely accepted as one of the greatest writers of the 20th Century.
For the 25th anniversary of White’s death, Brink has decided to adapt one of his short stories, Down at the Dump, from his collection of stories titled The Burnt Ones. Retitled The Aspirations of Daise Morrow, Drummond promises it will be a unique and highly theatrical experience which also features James Smith (Neighbourhood Watch) and Lucy Lehmann and to be accompanied by live music from one of Australia’s most innovative and contemporary string ensembles, the Zephyr Quartet.
Set in the fictional suburb of Barranugli, the Whalley family are getting ready for a day at the dump while, next door, the Hogben’s prepare for the funeral of the scandalous Daise Morrow. The Aspirations of Daise Morrow is – on the surface – a story about the complexities of small communities. It also speaks of the darkness that lies in the heart of society: fear of the outsider, the unknown, the uninhibited and the unusual. It is brutally funny, profound in its understanding and empathy for human nature, and filled with magic and wonder.
When asked why Drummond had chosen to adapt one of White’s short stories instead of presenting one of his well known plays he responds that while looking through works by White, this magical and beautiful story actually found him. Through the magic of White’s language Drummond became intrigued with the idea of presenting the story as a play and adapting it while using the same language, wit and scathing insight.
This adaptation has provided many challenges and opportunities that would not be available when presenting one of White’s plays, including the process of dividing sixteen characters between four actors without losing any of the story and at the same time retaining all the humour. White’s famous shifting narrative was also a big drawcard for Drummond as it provides plenty of images, poetic moments and theatricality but the four or five layers of different narrative also proved the most complicated and interesting part of the process.
For Drummond one of the most exciting aspects of The Aspirations of Daise Morrow is the staging. Sitting under the haze of an Australian sky created by Tony Award winning lighting designer Nigel Levings, the Space Theatre will have all the seating removed and will be covered in lawn and the audience will have the opportunity to share the space with the performers promising a very unique, moving and playful theatrical experience.
Reviewed by Ceri Horner
Venue: Space Theatre Adelaide Festival Centre
Season: 10-24 October
Tickets: from $38
Bookings: Bass 131246 www.bass.net.au