Treading gently with ancient feet or eagerly wandering on a day trip to the Blue Mountains, Australians all, we know that sound. Memory calls as the audio and projected images take us into bush outside the town. The ghost gums tower and the senses twitch with the recalled smell of eucalypts and the shimmer of heat on the skin. Thus begins the bonding, empathetic and emotional journey into the pain and generational despair of our First Nations brothers and sisters. A sharing in performance, a production resonating with resilience and love in the face of loss.
MAN WITH THE IRON NECK is an obsession for Ash who has suffered a loss far too common. The former was a stuntman who risked, for the entertainment of others, leaping with a rope around his neck and Ash is working at survival just as The Great Peters laboured to endure each trick. We meet his girlfriend Evelyn and her twin brother Bear who are living on the edge of town with aspirations and abilities to get them away from there despite their evident strength in family, personified in Mum Rose. Continue reading MAN WITH THE IRON NECK. A COMMUNING OF SADNESS AND RESILIENCE→
Playing as part of Sydney Festival 2019, THE MAN WITH THE IRON NECK, a powerful new work by leading physical theatre company Legs on the Wall and Ursula Yovich, is about a family embracing life after trauma. Weaving together a story written by Yovich, with aerial performance and innovative video design, this bold and tender story addresses the issue of suicide among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youths.
In one of our favourite interviews this year, The Guide had the chance to speak with the deeply humanist and completely captivating writer and performer, Ursula Yovich.
SAG: This is a very exciting project. I gather it began with Josh Bond’s original concept and work some ten years ago. (Bond is co-director with Gavin Robins) Then you came on as an actor before you started to work on the text?
So … I went a few years ago to visit my friend who lives alternatively in the bush. Her life is subsistent but she makes a bit of cash as a feral pig hunter. She is surrounded by dogs of all kinds. Many of them scarred and scary. Her advice to me, should I ever need it. If there is a pack of dogs causing trouble, in the middle there will be a little one who is meanest, fiercest and smartest. That one started the fight. This brings me to Barbara of BARBARA AND THE CAMP DOGS.
Belvoir is bringing rock ‘n’ roll back to Surry Hills this December with the powerful new Australian work, BARBARA AND THE CAMP DOGS. It’s co-written by Alana Valentine (PARRAMATTA GIRLS) and Ursula Yovich (THE SAPPHIRES), directed by Leticia Caceres (THE DROVER’S WIFE), and features stunning new songs.
The extraordinary Ursula Yovich plays Barbara, a gutsy front woman burnt out by the Sydney music scene. When the feisty Barbara heads back to country with her sister René, she is forced to face the past she’s been running from her whole life.
“Never in my life has the right thing happened at the right time.”
Katherine Thomson’s iconic Australian play is revived by director Darren Yap at the Griffin Theatre Company for their 2017 season. Set in Wollongong, Diving for Pearls inspects the economic rationalism of the late ‘80s and the effect political decisions of the era had on opportunity and income for the working class, still impacting some today.
Ursula Yovich is brilliant as Barbara, a woman going through a rough patch who despite this, is eager to learn and immerse herself in the new job market while approaching 40. Steve Rodgers is the gentle Den, a steel work labourer adjusting to the new demands of the times. Together they compliment each other’s opposing personalities and form a wonderful (and at times comic) dynamic on stage. The range of passion Barbara and Den exude for one another reaches an ugly dramatic climax in Act 2, contrasting their affection during the first Act. Ebony Vagulans is another stand-out as Barbara’s intellectually disabled daughter Verge, who moves in to live with Barbara and Den, much to their surprise. Michelle Doake is the hilariously uptight Marj, sister of Barbara with an accent attempting to allude to higher status, particularly compared to the working class status of the other characters. Jack Finsterer is the serious Ron, Den’s brother-in-law and industrial consultant.
Griffin is well known for having a small stage, and the use of space was innovative. Set and costume designer James Browne had wonderful attention to detail, leaving no part of the stage unused. From small model houses lining the industrial pipes and dresser, to the grassy knoll that could then be flipped-up into the underground industrial areas of the town was a great transition from the natural to man-made modern world.
While having the ability to find humour in the often dark parts of the story, director Darren Yap reflects, “In the end, the hard thing this play says to me is: if you don’t change you will be changed.” Certainly Diving For Pearls is a comment on the ever-evolving world we live in, from the changing job market to the increasing over-reliance on technology. Our work is to adapt. Yapp believes we should “remember and cherish the past, but don’t live in it. We have to move forward. As I get older, I find that a harsh reality.” And perhaps this is the harsh reality of all the characters within Diving For Pearls. Life goes on for better or worse.
Diving For Pearls is on at Griffin Theatre Company from the 15th September – 28th October at 7pm Monday – Friday with additional 2pm shows on Saturdays and Tuesday 24th October.
Merry is not quite the word for A CHRISTMAS CAROL playing during the Festive Season at Belvoir. The show is definitely Christmassy, definitely snowy, but it is the faithfulness to the original text which gives the show its dimension. Modernised in places and with Australian accents, the production retains the Dickensian darkness to give a depth of thought to stay with you after the flurry has melted away.
Ebenezer Scrooge (Robert Menzies) is hunched over a large ledger when the audience enters the space. Bob Cratchit (Steve Rodgers) is working faithfully beside him. After an uncomfortable visit from his nephew Fred (Eden Falk), Scrooge reluctantly closes up for the day and heads home to his bed as Bob joyfully heads home to his family. It is at 1 am, in bed, that Scrooge encounters the tortured ghost of his dead business partner, Marley (Peter Carroll).
Rest will not come easy to Scrooge on this Christmas Eve. He will be visited by Christmas Past, Christmas Present and Christmas Future. These apparitions bring him back to the love of humanity he knew as a small boy. In this way, will he avoid the fate of his dead partner? Continue reading A Christmas Carol @ Belvoir→
The wonderful collaboration between writer Vanessa Bates, director Chris Bendall and performer Ursula Yovich sees the stars in alignment for this delightful production.
Ursula tells a series of stories, based on fairy tales but with a veneer of modernity and edginess. The old fairy tales are tweaked a little so that Cinderella story is told from the perspective of an ugly sister who is in awe of her wild and attractive sister. The fact that the Cinderella character has been in juvenile detention and is harangued by her mother for the provocative way she dresses is indicative of Bates’s approach to storytelling.