Prize-winning playwright Oriel Gray was already famous in 1955 when her play The Torrents shared the prize for best Australian play with Ray Lawler’s Summer of the Seventeenth Doll. Both plays were promised production, but only The Doll was supported. The rest, as they say, is history.
How do you celebrate a “forgotten” playwright like Oriel Gray? You write a play, of course – and put her centre stage. Merrilee Moss’s script Oriel does just that – and it has been highly commended in the 2013 R E Ross Trust Playwrights Script Development awards.
A seamless blend of contemporary and historical… with both sensitivity and muscularity… a thoughtful meditation on the act of writing.
MTC Literary Director Chris Mead
Available via www.lamama.com.au or 03 9347 6142
In a liminal, late night world, the playwright Oriel types her plays, stalked by her characters, battling her demons and sharing thoughts and reflections with modern day playwright, Moss. In a series of flashbacks, Oriel depicts the left wing bohemian world of Sydney in the early 1950’s, including vibrant moments from Oriel Gray’s unconventional love life, her passionate involvement with the New Theatre and her occasionally fractious association with the Australian Communist Party.
The play has a smart metatheatrical energy and rhythm
and a gutsy Australian way of expressing itself.
Kim Durban, Director
Given recent debates in the media and across the Internet about the potential for equal representation of women in theatre, Oriel has a pertinent role to play in sharing the story of a local trailblazer, as it meditates on creativity and the nature of script writing.
Merrilee Moss’s verbatim play Night Breakfast won the Community and Youth AWGIE in 2010. Other plays include If Looks Could Kill (women in the red-light district St Kilda), Sez Who?! (a play for children about Land Rights), Tango Femme (a lesbian dance play) and Over the Hill, a play about ageing that toured Australia and was translated into Mandarin. Moss has a PhD in Theatre Performance from Monash University.
Director Kim Durban has built a strong reputation as a director of both new and classic texts at MTC, QTC, Playbox, La Mama and Red Stitch Theatre. She is the winner of the 2012 EJ Barker Fellowship and was joint winner of the 1990 Ewa Czajor Memorial Award. Kim is Program Leader of the Bachelor of Acting for Stage and Screen at Federation University Australia. She has a current entry in the Who’s Who of Australian Women, and is undertaking her PhD on Caroline playwright Richard Brome.
Performer Sarah Hamilton (Oriel) burst into view last year with They Saw a Thylacine, Malthouse. Hamilton commands the stage … with a beguiling charisma. (The Australian)
Written by Merrilee Moss
Directed by Kim Durban
Performed by Sarah Hamilton, Alyson Gale, Charlie Mycroft, Nicholas Rijs &
Design by Adam ‘Gus’ Powers
Lighting Design by Nick Glen
Image by Luke Lennox
A Ghost Ensemble production
Wed 6.30pm Thu, Fri, Sat 7.30pm Sun 4pm Approx 70 mins
La Mama Courthouse, 349 Drummond Street Carlton
$25 Full $15 Concession
Available via www.lamama.com.au or 03 9347 6142
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