Set in the claustrophobic world of a psychiatric hospital, demens balances extreme pathos with flashes of dark humour as it probes themes of desire, patriarchy and prejudice through the eyes of four people. Each has suffered trauma. Each is damaged, but not broken.
With echoes of a modern-day Blanche Dubois, the pensive Lilith yearns for a lobotomy to cut away the memories that torment her. She obsesses over the tragic figures of Anna Karenina and Emma Bovary – fellow victims of society, who, like Lilith, were also ‘punished’ for daring to break moral and social boundaries.
The manic, troubled, yet adorable Allan is fixated on tales of people disappearing at sea. Surely the only answer to these mysteries can be an inter-dimensional vortex – through which he could make his own escape from the pain of his real world?
At the core of Nurse Gabriel lie sadism, religious obsession and a desire to manipulate. The sexuality of Lilith and Allan both excites and repulses him. He believes he can ‘save’ them. But what are his motives? The tortured Dr Osmond masks his sinister nature behind a very thin veneer of middle-class respectability … yet that veneer is beginning to crack.
With Natasha Broadstock directing a stellar cast including Don Bridges, Philip Cristian Claassen, Louise Crawford and Jai Luke, demens features an evocative soundscape that punctuates the darks themes of this poignant yet gloriously twisted and unnerving piece of theatre.
Director: Natasha Broadstock Featuring: Don Bridges, Philip Cristian Claassen, Louise Crawford, Jai Luke Designer: Victoria Haslam Set: Harry Paternoster Lighting Designer: Matthew Barber Sound Designer: Lindon Blakey Lighting & Sound Operator: Nicholas Moloney Projections: Mad Alice Media Writer: Amedeo Astorino
Bluestone Church Arts Space, 10A Hyde Street, Footscray
Season: 15 – 24 July 2016 (preview: 14 July)
Information and Bookings: www.trybooking.com
Image: Jai Luke – photo by Michael Foxington