Susie Salmon is a typical 14yo girl, with all the usual preoccupations: she wants to be gorgeous, she has secret crushes, and favourite things. There’s just one small difference: Susie is dead, lured into a hideaway in a cornfield, and subsequently raped and murdered.
From beyond the grave, she now observes her grieving family: her father, obsessed with finding her killer and getting justice; her mother, looking to escape the unbearable pain of losing her child by forging a new life; and her clever sister, discovering boys and embarking of the journey that Susie herself never had the chance to take. And Susie is trying to find a way to help.
Alice Sebold’s best-selling novel turned the horror-thriller trope of a crime and its aftermath into an elegiac meditation on life, love and loss. As she herself wrote: “the line between the living and the dead could be murky and blurred.”
Award-winning British playwright Bryony Lavery has taken Sebold’s beautiful novel and created a visceral performance text, both sparse and dense, that also surprises with its humour and verve. New Theatre is thrilled to be presenting the Australian premiere of this work.
Well-known to audiences for her productions of Pygmalion and The Lieutenant of Inishmore, New Theatre welcomes back director Deborah Mulhall. “Years ago I became aware of the popularity of the novel,” she said.
“It’s authentic voice struck a chord with adolescent girls everywhere. Last year I stumbled across Bryony Lavery’s stage adaptation and brought it to the attention of Louise Fischer, Artistic Director of New Theatre.”
“I’m thrilled that the Play Assessors gave it the ‘thumbs up’ to program it for production and that I’ve been entrusted to guide it to the stage.”
“Sebold’s novel a profoundly insightful study of a life unlived. Susie’s authentic adolescent voice resonates throughout, and Lavery’s adaptation is faithful to the novel’s intent and meaning.”
“Underscoring the story, and using the myth of Persephone, is a social commentary about how women are captured and imprisoned in ‘cages’: cages of expectation or houses in the suburbs or relationships which inhibit freedom.”
“Essentially, this is a story about grief, about family and about a society which denies women even the knowledge of options,” said Deborah
Director: Deborah Mulhall | Featuring: Mark Barry, Naomi Belet, Shiva Chandra, Ted Crosby, Lisa Hanssens, Cassady Maddox Booth, Anthony Michaels Eid, Sarah Maguire, Brendan McBride, Natasha McDonald, Kirsty Saville, Andrea Tan, Sean Taylor, Parker Texilake | Set Designer: Robyn Arthur | Lighting Designer: Michael Schell | Costume Designer: Andrea Tan | Sound Designer: Sam Barnett | Vision Designer: Mehran Mortezaei | Assistant Director: Dimity Raftos | Production Manager: David Marshall-Martin | Stage Manager: Victoria Lewis | Crew: Mitch Latham | Operator: Ole Borch
The Lovely Bones
New Theatre, 542 King Street, Newtown
Season: 23 November – 18 December 2021
Information and Bookings: www.newtheatre.org.au
Image: © Velychko/Shutterstock