Providing a rare insight into our struggle with our multi-cultural self, an Australian woman adopts five children; each of them from different continents: Asia, Europe, Africa, South America and an indigenous child from her own. She believes she offers them a better life, absent of poverty and war and neglect.
Big Heart follows their lives through babyhood, adolescence and adulthood and is punctuated by moments of catharsis and joy. It’s about relationships; about love between mother and child, and between siblings. It places Australian identity at the centre of a cross-examination from all corners of the globe, exploring themes of multiculturalism, racism and class.
The characters of the five children represented are from Vietnam, Bosnia, Ethiopia, Nicaragua and Indigenous Australia, reflecting a refreshing and important view of ourselves that we rarely see represented on our stages.
“Big Heart is a play that I’m very excited about,” said Patricia Cornelius. “It’s a play of ideas, it’s a play about what constitutes family and what’s constitutes the real face of Australia. It’s a play which risks treading on toes, which might offend, which says unflattering stuff about us. What better for a new Australian drama?”
Writer, Patricia Cornelius and director, Susie Dee have worked together for over 30 years and have made award winning, visceral and powerful works. Dee & Cornelius’ last two productions, SHIT and Savages were met with critical and award-winning acclaim. They are great examples of the kind of work which this duo have been investigating.
Patricia and Susie worked together on Max at Theatre Works, The Berry Man at Hothouse Theatre, Taxi at Big West Festival, Savages at 45 Downstairs and SHIT at Neon (MTC) and 2017 Sydney Festival.
They have worked on numerous developments and readings together and have the privilege of an understanding of each other’s work and processes so that each new project can develop further along from the last, can elucidate clear steps to take into the next work and make it more fine, more audacious, more theatrically powerful.
Director: Susie Dee Featuring: Andrea Swifte, Daniela Farinacci, Kasia Kaczmarek, Solomon Salew, Elmira Jurik, Sermsah Bin Saad (Suri) Set and Costume Designer: Marg Horwell Lighting Designer: Rachel Burke Sound Designer & Composer: Darius Kedros Assistant Director: Lyall Brooks Production/Stage Manager: Claire Shepherd Producer: Laura Milke-Garner
Theatre Works, 14 Acland Street, St. Kilda
Season: 7 – 24 September 2017 (preview: 6 September)
Information and Bookings: www.theatreworks.org.au
Image: Theatre Works presents Dee & Cornelius’ Big Heart (supplied)