Audiences around the country will get to experience two very different perspectives on adult life when multi-award winning festival hit, Hello, Goodbye & Happy Birthday by Roslyn Oades takes to the road from July to September this year.
Hello, Goodbye & Happy Birthday celebrates two milestone birthdays – eighteen and eighty – major transition points of adult life. One represents untold potential; the other, the accumulation of a lifetime of experiences. Scripted from intimate real-life conversations with people either side of these milestones, Hello, Goodbye & Happy Birthday is a powerful new work from Roslyn Oades & Collaborators, inspired by Oades attending an 80th birthday party and shortly after an 18th:
“It occurred to me during the birthday speeches that the former felt eerily like a farewell party and the latter a ‘hello-world-here-I-come’ type event,” said Oades. “The juxtaposition of these two celebrations started me thinking about entrances and exits into adulthood.”
Playful and affecting in equal measure, this show sees Oades continue her unique ‘headphone verbatim’ documentary theatre technique – previously seen in the Belvoir/Sydney Festival hit, I’m Your Man and Stories of Love & Hate (Urban Theatre Projects/Sydney Theatre Co) – to create immediate and vivid performances.
The source material for Hello, Goodbye & Happy Birthday is the result of an extensive period of interviews with seniors over the age of 80, followed by a similar process with groups of 18 year olds. Immersed in the communal environments of aged-care facilities and high schools, Oades set out to explore the thresholds of teens into adulthood, as well as independent adults into aged-care dependency. She also crashed as many 18th, 80th, 90th and 100th birthday parties as possible.
Over a two-year period, 80 people participated in long-form audio interviews for this project. In a process similar to that of a documentary filmmaker, Oades then drew from this enormous catalogue of recordings to construct what she calls the show’s ‘audio-script’.
“Rather than reciting memorised lines, the actors wear headphones and speak aloud my carefully edited audio interviews word-for-word (including every inflection, cough, stumble, breath and overlap), as they are played to them,” said Oades.
The result is remarkable – actors play across ages, genders and ethnicities to create a snapshot of life, complete with all the quirks, pauses and belly laughs that make humans so fascinating and unique.
Roslyn Oades is a theatre maker/director known for her pioneering work in the field of headphone-verbatim performance. She was the 2013 Director-in-residence at Malthouse Theatre where she created Hello, Goodbye & Happy Birthday for the 2014 Melbourne Festival – receiving the 2014 Green Room Award for outstanding writing/adaptation for the Australian Stage.
Her previous works include: I’m Your Man (Belvoir/2012 Sydney Festival/2013 Australian tour), Cutaway – A Portrait (Vitalstatistix, 2012), Stories of Love & Hate (Urban Theatre Projects 2008/Sydney Theatre Company, 2011) and Fast Cars & Tractor Engines (UTP/BYDS, 2005).
Most recently she was writer/director on In A Deep Dark Forest – an immersive storytelling game for children (The Inhabitors/Arts Centre Melbourne, 2017) and writer on At the Hip – a commission for HotHouse Theatre’s Studio Ensemble (2016). When not creating theatre, Roslyn works as a voice over artist and performer. (www.roslynoades.com)
“… the unguarded stories that emerge here are surprisingly elating … Common humanity brings with it hilarity and heartbreak.” – The Age
Direction/Audio-script: Roslyn Oades Featuring: Matthew Connell, Jim Daly, Aileen Huynh, Evelyn Krape, Roger Oakley, Izabella Yena Movement Director: Nat Cursio Sound Design: Bob Scott & Russell Goldsmith Lighting Design: Stephen Hawker (based on original design by Paul Jackson) Set/Costume Design: Matilda Woodroofe (based on an original design by Christina Hayes) Audio-script Editing: Roslyn Oades & Bob Scott Script Dramaturge: Raimondo Cortese Additional Dramaturgy: Bob Scott, Nat Cursio, Paul Jackson & Yana Taylor
Hello, Goodbye & Happy Birthday is currently playing at Hobart’s Theatre Royal until 8 July, before touring to Geelong Performing Arts Centre: 12 – 15 July; Ulumbarra Theatre, Bendigo (18 July); Wagga Wagga Civic Theatre (20 July); Bathurst Memorial Entertainment Centre (22 – 24 July); Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre (26 July); and Parramatta’s Riverside Theatre (27 – 29 July).
The tour will then continue onto Caloundra, Surfers Paradise, Darwin, Portland, Mount Gambier, Renmark, Mandurah and Wollongong. For more information and touring schedule, visit: www.performinglines.org.au for details.
Image: Aileen Huynh and Jim Daly feature in Hello, Goodbye & Happy Birthday – photo by Sarah Walker