This October (10-24) at the Adelaide Festival Centre’s Space Theatre, Brink Productions presents the world premiere season of The Aspirations of Daise Morrow – a new work based on a short story by Australian writer and Nobel Prize recipient, Patrick White, featuring a cast led by Paul Blackwell and Kris McQuade – two of the country’s greatest theatre actors – and with live music by Zephyr Quartet.
The Aspirations of Daise Morrow is Brink’s theatrical reimagining of White’s acclaimed Down at the Dump – transformed into a raw, immediate and unexpected performance experience – while retaining all of the writer’s language, wit, scathing insight and wonderful humour.
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 at the heart of society: fear of the outsider, the unknown, the uninhibited and unusual. It is brutally funny, profound in its understanding and empathy for human nature, and filled with magic and wonder.
“I was reading The Burnt Ones, as I’d never read any of White’s short stories,” says Chris Drummond, Brink’s Artistic Director. “Down at the Dump leaped off the page as a piece that might lend itself to adaptation. In the year marking the 25th Anniversary of White’s death, I hope our production will inspire new audiences to explore his vast catalogue of work.”
Drummond says the point of inspiration for The Aspirations of Daise Morrow was simple. “Take on White’s incredible text – holus bolus – and give it over to a group of artists to devise a theatrical response, rather than whittling away at a traditional adaptation trying to re-form the brilliance that’s already there. This has given our artistic team direct access to White’s fabulous imagination and opened up an entirely unexpected world from which to create a truly unique theatrical encounter.”
The Aspirations of Daise Morrow is a ‘word for word’ piece, intimately presented in Brink’s immersive style with the performers working around the audience within an installation resembling a cemetery. White’s Australian vernacular and wit is formidably embodied by a stellar cast which teams Blackwell and McQuade – together on stage for the first time since 2009 – with two emerging Adelaide actors, James Smith and Lucy Lehmann.
A 20 year veteran of stage and screen – Blackwell’s recent theatre credits include Volpone, Eh Joe and The Seagull for State Theatre Company of SA (STCSA). Another seasoned actor, McQuade’s experience includes international stage tours with Cloudstreet and an award-winning TV performance in Wentworth. Smith and Lehmann are graduates of the Flinders Drama Centre. The Aspirations of Daise Morrow will be Lehmann’s first production since graduation, while Smith has performed with Miriam Margolyes in STCSA’s Neighbourhood Watch.
Audiences at The Aspirations of Daise Morrow will enjoy an original score composed and performed live by Zephyr Quartet, one of Australia’s most innovative contemporary string ensembles, while sitting under the haze of an Australian sky created by Tony Award winning lighting designer Nigel Levings. Set and costume design is by Michael Hankin, whose recent theatre credits include Belvoir Street Theatre’s Angels in America and The Glass Menagerie.
WHAT: The Aspirations of Daise Morrow presented by Brink Productions in association with Adelaide Festival Centre – a new Australian performance based on a short story by Patrick White
WHEN: 10-24 October, 2015
WHERE: Space Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre
TICKETS: from $38+fees, book at bass.net.au or 131 246
DURATION: 1hr 15mins (no interval) – suitable for ages 15+