A true-life story of turning lemons into wine, Essence Productions presents the return season of Alaine Beek’s Jack and Millie at the Wyndham Cultural Centre on 2 March, before embarking on a regional tour.
Based on Beek’s personal experience of traversing the mental challenges and funny moments of a cancer diagnosis, Jack and Millie is a witty, gritty and important Australian work, complete with lashings of laughter.
A fifty-something professional at the peak of her career, Millie is about to find out just how quickly life can change when she’s unexpectedly diagnosed with breast cancer.
We all respond differently to life changing moments; Millie deals with her shocking news by creating an imaginary friend called Jack. A friend to help her make sense of a world that has just been completely turned upside down.
“We were delighted to realise, with the premiere season of Jack and Millie, that the play opened up dialogue amongst friends and family about cancer in a very positive and real way, including my own son,” said Beek. “He was 14 when I was diagnosed and we hadn’t really ever had a full conversation about it.”
“Audiences were also very surprised how much they laughed, and even though there are poignant moments they left with a feeling of positivity. This is exactly what we wanted to achieve.”
Playing across Victoria and into NSW in 2022 as a part of the coveted VCE Drama Playlist, Jack and Millie is a clever black comedy tackling a tough subject. With high praise following its premiere season in 2021 and a great mix of matinee and evening shows available, this smart and engaging return season is not to be missed!
Running since 2003, Essence Productions is an independent theatre company founded by Beek with a focus on bringing Australian stories to life through performance. They are the resident theatre company at Werribee Park, where they have delighted audiences from across the globe every weekend for the past two decades.
Other company productions include The Scrunch Test, What Was That?, Shepherd Kings, Down to Earth, Testing Nothing, A Good Coffee, and their season of Point of No Return, which toured nationally to rave reviews.
Director: Nigel Sutton | Featuring: Alaine Beek, Phil Cameron-Smith, Ross Daniels | Sound Design: Mike Withers and Kevin Hopkins | Stage Manager: Chris de Zeeuw
Jack and Millie plays the Wyndham Cultural Centre, Werribee (2 March); before playing the Potato Shed, Drysdale (5 March); Griffith Regional Theatre (8 & 9 March); Albury Entertainment Centre (11 & 12 March); and Athenaeum Theatre, Melbourne (16 – 19 March). For more information, visit: www.essenceproductions.com.au for details.
Image: Alaine Beek and Phil Cameron-Smith – photo by David Mullins