A touching and humorous examination of ageing, vulnerability and a prickly friendship in a country town lodging house, renowned playwright Daniel Keene returns to fortyfivedownstairs with the Australian premiere of The Curtain from 27 February 2020.
Ada Munroe rents her two spare rooms to Leon and Francis, two single, aging men who seem to have come to the end of their road. The small country town where they live is slowly dying; local businesses are closing, familiar faces disappearing. Their narrowing futures seem inescapable. But one night something unexpected happens that shifts how Ada sees her life. And now everything must change.
The Curtain marks Keene’s second collaboration with Director Beng Oh, following an acclaimed production Wild Cherries at La Mama last year. Written with Keene’s characteristically sharp ear for poetry in the dialogue of ordinary people, The Curtain underpins a simple story with multiple layers of meaning and feeling.
Originally commissioned by Melbourne Theatre Company, The Curtain was included in the company’s 2012 Cybec Electric Readings program. It has remained unproduced to date, and once again, fortyfivedownstairs has stepped up to give this Australian work the season it deserves.
“Actors Paul Weingott and Gil Tucker approached fortyfivedownstairs with the proposal of a public reading of The Curtain last year,” says Artistic Director Mary Lou Jelbart. “I was immediately struck by the beautiful simplicity of the writing and Keene’s superlative observation of character.
“He’s one of our very best playwrights and his work was some of the earliest presented at fortyfivedownstairs when the venue first opened, so I’m thrilled to have him back, and to see his writing realised by Beng, whose recent production of Cock was a great highlight of our 2019 season.”
Recipient of the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Drama twice and the NSW Premier’s Literary Award for Drama three times, amongst many other prizes, Daniel Keene’s work has been presented at the Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide International Arts Festivals, and at the Melbourne Theatre Company and Sydney Theatre Company.
Since 2000, over 80 productions of his work have been presented in Europe, predominantly in France. In 2016, Daniel was appointed to the rank of Chevalier de I’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture for his contribution to French Culture.
Director: Beng Oh Featuring: Milijana Cancar, Gil Tucker, Paul Weingott Sound Design: Ben Keene Lighting Design: Lisa Mibus Set and Costume Design: Andrew Bailey Stage Manager: Teri Steer
fortyfivedownstairs, 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
Season: 27 February – 15 March 2020 (preview: 26 February)
Information and Bookings: www.fortyfivedownstairs.com
Image: Paul Weingott, Milijana Cancar and Gil Tucker feature in The Curtain (supplied)