An evocative, surreal and haunting play by acclaimed theatre, puppetry & animation artist Bernadette Trench-Thiedeman, Phantasmagoria will have its world premiere at St Kilda’s Theatre Works this March.
Phantasmagoria is a new play exploring the troubled relationship between a woman and her violent father long after he has passed away.
Briony is just your regular girl from the outer suburbs, finding love, trying to make a new life and hopefully a home. But to lay foundations for a new home you have to dig into the ground. You might disturb what had been laid to rest.
Briony is in the process of unearthing her father’s childhood in Sri Lanka, his brutal World War II history in Burma, migration journey, alcoholism, and his family’s eventual escape from him.
Using magic realism, incorporating puppetry and animation, this unique new work plunges beneath an everyday domestic space to reveal family secrets, visits from departed spirits and complex emotional worlds.
Performed by a truly talented cast – Meg Dunn (Grace Under Pressure), accomplished puppeteer Elnaz Sheshgelani (Iranian Bauhaus), Bernadette Trench Thiedeman (Big Country Puppets, The Divination Agency) and Yuchen Wang (Golden Shield, Nightingale and the Rose).
The play has been developed with dramaturg Emilie Collyer and is directed by Cathy Hunt who often collaborates to realise new works including Little Brother, Big Sister and at Theatre Works, Love/Chamberlain. Cathy will direct She Wrote the Letter for St. Martin’s in April 2022.
Travelling back and forth through time and space, Phantasmagoria is a haunting feast for the senses, accompanied by family ghosts: full of grief, love, loss, absurdity and a generous serving of stage magic.
Dynamic performance, comedy, puppetry and evocative animated imagery give physical life to the strange realm of ghosts, letting audiences glimpse unseen worlds and uneasy memories which persist – can we ever truly shake them?
Director: Cathy Hunt | Performers / Devisors: Meg Dunn, Elnaz Sheshgelani, Bernadette Trench-Thiedeman, Yuchen Wang | Dramaturg: Emilie Collyer | Artwork, Puppetry Design & Animation: Bernadette Trench-Thiedeman | Sound Designers: Justin Gardam & Marlon Grunden | Additional Sound Designer & Composer: Claire Deak | Operator: Kit Cunneen | Lighting: Giovanna Yate Gonzalez
Theatre Works, 14 Acland Street, St Kilda
Season: 3 – 12 March 2022 (preview: 2 March)
Information and Bookings: www.theatreworks.org.au
Image: Phantasmagoria – photo by Jack Dixon-Gunn