Hercules-Mary-Helen-Sassman-Kathrine-Tonkin-Edwina-Wren-photo-by-Daisy-NoyesAn unflinching theatrical descent into a dark underworld of heroes, gods and monsters, Arts House and Daniel Schlusser Ensemble presents the world premiere of Hercules at Arts House – North Melbourne Town Hall from 24 May 2022.

Hercules was seen as a hero, a great protector and a role model. However, the lesser-known story of his violent murder of his wife and children is all but forgotten.

A powerful and challenging new work created by the acclaimed Daniel Schlusser Ensemble, Hercules is an unflinching attempt to topple hero-worshipping and idolisation while grappling with incomprehensible acts of violence.

Taking the twelve labours of Hercules as its entry point, Hercules is a visionary work of theatre that excavates the violence that lies beneath the myth of the hero.

Performed by a trio of fearless female performers: Mary-Helen Sassman, Katherine Tonkin and Edwina Wren, Hercules draws on Euripides, meme culture and contemporary politics as well as personal insights from the performers, who are mothers of young boys.

Hercules is a multi-modal theatre work. Three performers are trapped inside a kindergarten room that is suffocating in tragedy until it cracks open to reveal powerful symbolic and mythological worlds.

Daniel Schlusser said it has been almost 10 years since the ensemble presented its acclaimed M+M in Melbourne, “Our newest work tackles a range of social realities 1 the pressures of hyper-productivity, particularly on mothers and carers; culturally codified misogyny; and the tragic consequences of confused masculinity, heroism and coercive control,” he said.

“Hercules is a complicated love affair with a hero. We are devising a theatrical poem that investigates heroism, surrounded by violence, infanticide, divinity and madness,” said Schlusser.

Arts House Artistic Director, Emily Sexton, welcomes Daniel Schlusser Ensemble, “This is a timely and politically urgent work on a topic that has received less attention that it should as we’ve navigated the challenges of the pandemic,” said Sexton.

“We could not be in safer hands than with these exceptional artists, and I trust them fully to create a theatrical world that both surprises and challenges us in equal measure.”

Creators: Daniel Schlusser Ensemble, after Euripides | Director: Daniel Schlusser | Writers: Daniel Schlusser, Mary-Helen Sassman, Katherine Tonkin, Edwina Wren | Performers: Mary-Helen Sassman, Katherine Tonkin, Edwina Wren | Set and Costume Designer: Romanie Harper and Bethany J Fellows | Composer, Sound and AV Designer: James Paul Production Manager: Cassandra Fumi | Stage Manager: Theresa O’Connor | Assistant Stage Manager: Celina Mack | Lighting Designer: Amelia Lever-Davidson | Producer: Erin Milne | Associate Producer: Xavier O’Shannessy

Arts House – North Melbourne Town Hall, 521 Queensberry Street, North Melbourne
Season: 24 – 28 May 2022
Information and Bookings: www.artshouse.com.au

Image: Mary-Helen Sassman, Katherine Tonkin and Edwina Wren – photo by Daisy Noyes