A young man pieces together a personal story of love and flight. Based on interviews with gay refugees and inspired by the work of award-winning photojournalist Bradley Secker, Elegy journeys through a no-man’s land of empty train stations, treacherous border crossings and bomb-blasted towns.
The play is an exploration of the human loss linking us all, regardless of our religion or politics. Devised using real-life testimonies and created by Douglas Rintoul from Transport Theatre UK, Elegy immerses its audience in an empathic yet confusing romantic journey before falling into the play’s political depths.
Featuring Gareth Reeves as the refugee, John Kachoyan returns to direct this absorbing drama and is thrilled at the opportunity to do so for a story that has resonated with him so deeply. “It’s such a pleasure to be able to work on Elegy, to share it again and to know that a larger and more diverse audience will get to see it,” he says.
“I was initially drawn to the sheer humanity of the haunting, lyrical script – it’s a love story and a loss story. These are stories we simply weren’t – and still aren’t – hearing about both LGBTQI people persecuted in their homeland and about asylum seekers thrust into the chaos of a world increasingly hostile to them because of this persecution. The intersection of those two spurned groups really struck me.”
The casting of a white Australian male to play a gay refugee is not lost on Kachoyan, and the team specifically chose to cast this way for a reason. “The Producers didn’t want the piece to be able to sit at a safe distance as the story of the ‘other’ or for us to borrow a cultural or experiential heritage we didn’t have ourselves,” he says.
“It’s definitely something we’ve grappled with and worked with different groups and communities on but this piece currently hits certain audiences (those perhaps less open or aware of these issues) harder because of this element but hopefully there will be other actors playing the part in future tours.”
“Some stories are more powerful than others. He’s worried his isn’t powerful enough…”
Director: John Kachoyan Performer: Gareth Reeves Sound Design/Composition: Russell Goldsmith Lighting & Set Design: Rob Sowinski with Bryn Cullen Production & Stage Manager: Sarah Jane Robertson Producers: John Kachoyan and Lyall Brooks
Theatre Works, Acland Street, St. Kilda
Season: 16 – 20 May 2018
Information and Bookings: www.theatreworks.org.au
Image: courtesy of Lab Kelpie