Kate Herbert is theatre reviewer, Herald Sun, Melbourne & formerly for Melbourne Times. Kate is a director & produced playwright (20 plays). Scripts published by Currency Press. She worked as an actor, comedian, improviser & teacher of Acting, Improvisation & Playwriting. Kate is currently Convenor of Professional Writing & Editing, Swinburne University. Read her reviews here or at: www.heraldsun.com.au/entertainment/arts. NB Explorer Browser doesn't always work on blog.
Thursday, 4 September 2014
Waking Up Dead, Sept 5, 2014 ****
Written by Trudy
Hellier At fortyfivedownstairs, Sept 4
to 14, 2014 Reviewer: Kate Herbert Stars: **** Review also published online in Herald Sun on Fri Sept 5, 2014 and in print on Mon Sept 8. KH
Caroline Lee; pic by Andy Turner
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.
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).
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.
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.
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
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
nostalgia tinged with pain, she plumbs the depths of her memories as she
travels around in her own psyche, searching for meaning or missed clues that
would indicate or predict the events to come.
reverberating around her is Moorhead’s evocative soundscape of eerie static,
snatches of radio bulletins about a “missing businessman” and fragments of
intrusive, impersonal police interviews with the woman about her life with her
direction makes time fluid in this production as the woman stalls mid-thought,
leaves the space unexpectedly, stares at us or gently reminds us – and the
on-stage sound designer, Moorhead – to stay out of her private space.
many will be aware, the story echoes the bizarre story of the murder of the
middle-aged, Melbourne businessman who hid his secret, sexual proclivities for
Up Dead has a strange, disconcerting and elusive quality that leaves one with a
lingering sense of melancholy for this addled and grieving woman.