Initially developed at The Street Theatre in 2019, Van Den Berg is using the First Seen: new works-in-progress workshop program in 2020 for a mix of pre-production creative development and writing creative development working in Zoom.
Spanning two centuries, Milk tracks a conversation between three Aboriginal ancestors on the verge of life-changing moments: an old woman is dying, clutching the stone that should have killed her sealer husband; a middle-aged woman curls her hair in preparation for another date; a young man grapples with the past before plunging headfirst into an uncertain future.
Stranded together on a metaphysical Flinders Island off the coast of Tasmania, they attempt to reconcile what came before the onslaught of colonisation with what’s yet to come. Do we own the stories of our ancestors? And does the passage of time undermine a connection to Country? Milk is a story of longing, connection and the ghosts of the past.
During COVID-19 restrictions, Director Gin Savage is working with writer Dylan Van Den Berg as he develops the play’s imagery and characters with the cast Roxanne McDonald and Laila Thaker and sound designer Peter Bailey to interrelate the text before inviting audiences to an online showing. Be part of the creative development process and give us your feedback at this work-in-progress showing.
The ever popular First Seen: new works-in-progress offers Canberra audiences the opportunity to be part of the creative process helping The Street progress performance works to production-ready stage. First Seen offers a unique insight into development and is a vital part of The Street’s planning for future years to bring original and diverse Canberra stories to the stage.
Dylan Van Den Berg is a Palawa writer/performer with family connections to the Bass Strait Islands and the northeast of Tasmania. Recently, his play Way Back When won the Griffin Award (2020), was highly commended for the Max Afford Award, and was shortlisted for the Patrick White Playwrights Award and the QLD Premier’s Drama Award. Currently, it is being developed through Darlinghurst Theatre Company’s Next in Line program.
Other writing for performance includes Milk (The Street Theatre, 2020), which was shortlisted for the Rodney Seaborn Playwrights Prize, The Camel (Fringe at the Edge, 2020), and Blue: a misery play (The Street Theatre, 2017). In 2019, he was selected to participate in Playwriting Australia’s masterclass with Patricia Cornelius. He is currently adapting a new Australian musical, Dot and the Kangaroo, with Liz Hobart and Bryce Halliday.
Dylan Van Den Berg’s Milk will be presented in a work-in-progress showing online on Friday 7 August at 5.00pm. FREE – bookings essential. For more information, visit: www.thestreet.org.au for details.
Image: courtesy of The Street Theatre