Following the success of their recent production TAPE, Play Dead Theatre presents an immersive new staging of David Eldridge’s acclaimed play FESTEN, performed in the stunning surroundings of the Rippon Lea Estate Ballroom this July.
Nominated for the Olivier Award for Best New Play, and based on the award-winning Danish film The Celebration, FESTEN is a gripping thriller, black comedy and Greek Tragedy combined, depicting the poisonous dysfunction of a large wealthy family.
Upon arrival, Melbourne audiences will experience the estates historic heritage-listed mansion, surrounded by 14-acres of picturesque garden. Once they enter the ballroom, they’ll feel like flies on the wall as the family dinner unfolds in real time.
Not only a brilliant satire, FESTEN is a call for change that explores the impact of child abuse. By using humour to delicately but directly juxtapose the family’s attempts to enjoy the dinner with a monstrous situation, the play confronts its characters with the devastating effects of burying secrets.
Play Dead Theatre have partnered with Lifeline Australia and the BlueKnot Foundation to organise a public Q&A linked to the themes of the play, and through this alliance, are looking to create an experience where the audience feels both stimulated and safe.
“We believe in the power of theatre and its potential to remind us that we are not alone and that we have the power to heal and change,” says Michael Mack, Play Dead Theatre’s Creative Director.
Directed by award winner Jennifer Sarah Dean (Artistic Director of the Melbourne Shakespeare Company), this boldly ambitious undertaking features a cast of 15, ranging from industry veterans Richard Moss and Adrian Mulraney, to young twins Isobel and Eloise Henry – whose appearance on Australia’s Got Talent at age 5 has reached a staggering 25 million views on YouTube.
Combining a stellar cast and creative team with Eldridge’s remarkable text and Play Dead Theatre’s innovative site-specific concept, FESTEN is sure to be one of Melbourne’s most unique theatrical experiences of 2018.
Director: Jennifer Sarah Dean Featuring: Richard Moss, Johnathan Peck, Adrian Mulraney, Isobel Henry, Rosie Traynor, Mark Yeates, Aimee Sanderson, Michael Mack, Hester Van Der Vyver, Charlie Ranger, Liam Seymour, Victory Ndukwe, Tori McCann, Eloise Henry, Tref Gare Set Designer / Food Stylist: Laura Issell Set Designer: Diane Jouvet Costume Designer: Helene Marie Froisland Composer: Sophie Naufal Stage Manager: Alyssa Hall Producer: Michael Mack
Rippon Lea Ballroom, 192 Hotham St, Elsternwick
Season: 6 – 22 July
Information and Bookings: www.playdeadtheatre.com.au
Image: The Cast of FESTEN – photo by Sarah Walker