THE DARKENING SKY
WRITER/DIRECTOR/ RICHARD MURPHET
17 - 26 MARCH 2022
'Intense, suspenseful, mystifying and intriguing'
'It's a play you chew over, unravel and reassemble later, on the way home'
'Enough majesty and mystery here to lose yourself'
'Murphet is fearlessly ambitious'
Thurs 17 March, 7:30pm Fri 18 March, 7:30pm Sat 19 March, 7:30pm Tues 22 March, 7:30pm Wed 23 March, 7:30pm (Q&A) Thurs 24 March, 7:30pm Fri 25 March, 7:30pm Sat 26 March, 7:30pm
Full price $45.00 Concession $35.00 Preview $28.00 Mob Tix $20.00
Strictly 15+ | Strong sexual references, references to violence, assault and murder.
The Darkening Sky is an electrifying and all engrossing new Australian work by renowned director Richard Murphet.
Set in the inner suburbs of Melbourne, James (Brian Lipson) dissects his past, navigating through memory to find the truth that has long been hidden. At the same time, Tony (Tom Dent), a private investigator hunts down clues to find a missing person: Chantal St Clair.
In this new work, Murphet brings together film, live music and performance to plunge the audience deep into a noir world of crime, love, loss and memory.
Cast: Brian Lipson, Matthew Connell, Tom Dent, Edwina Wren, Rebekah Hill, Anthea Davis, Adam Pierzchalski, Tony Reck, Mark Tregonning Director: Richard Murphet Stage Manager: Rain Shadrach Okpamen Composer/Live Music: Arian Montana Set & Costume Design: Eloise Kent Lighting Design: Kris Chainey Photography & Graphic Design: Chelsea Neate Producers: Samara Barr (VTC), Lauren Bennett (Theatre Works) Film Composition: Jak Scanlon
Address: 14 Acland Street, St Leonards Ave, St Kilda.
This is a lockout event.
Richard Murphet has a fascination for noir – and pulp fiction. He even put together two clever, witty one act plays – Quick Death and Slow Love – back in 2015, sending up the tropes of both. The Darkening Sky takes those tropes and uses them for more serious purpose. It’s disconcerting at first to realise that this complex tale is set in inner Melbourne, on very specific streets and train stations, but why not? It brings the story in close and makes it somehow more real.
Billed as a neo-noir thriller, the stage was brilliantly designed for this genre, with low-level lighting and a classic café/bar set – highly reminiscent of Edward Hopper’s famous painting, Nighthawks – filling the major part of the space.
This first-rate staging, aided by the use of a live soundscape and multimedia elements, allows the audience to become instantly immersed in this ominous story, presented in a shadowy cinematic style.
Read the full review here.
Two questions intrigued me as The Darkening Sky flowed out of me unbidden during the winter months of 2019, in that long-lost period before Covid 19. The first – how can we depend on our fallible, fragmentary and fading memory as we try to understand, to come to terms with moments of personal loss and trauma in our dimming past? The second – what is it that inspires ordinary people to undertake acts of undeniable heroism; and what do they have to sacrifice in doing so? These seem to me to be almost unanswerable questions but The Darkening Sky is my meditation upon each of them and how they weave together. What has emerged is a jig-saw puzzle that I hope you will join with us in piecing together. Events, people and places from my own past are present as touchstones throughout, but this is primarily an act of fiction. I still believe that it is through creative fiction that true understanding can be reached. Our small team of performers and designers has had to deal with two season cancellations due to Covid lockdowns, and lately the direct invasion of the virus into our midst. Throughout all these setbacks, this remarkable group of people has maintained commitment, held trust and produced work of the highest quality. All without pay. I am in awe and in great debt to each and every one of them. We have been given extraordinary support by the management team at Theatre Works, who just kept rescheduling our season as each cancellation loomed, by the management at The Alex Theatre who provided rehearsal space for the past two years, and by the young, vigorous and multi- talented members of the Victorian Theatre Company. To have such friends is a sure sign of the always rejuvenating force of Melbourne theatre.
RICHARD MURPHET/ DIRECTOR & PLAYWRIGHT
Richard has been writing, directing and creating contemporary forms of theatre for 5 decades. His plays have received productions throughout Australia and internationally, and he has worked as a director in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Toronto, New York, Amsterdam, Utrecht and Ghent. His plays include: Quick Death (1979), Slow Love (1983), Dolores and the Department Store (1999), The Inhabited Woman (2003), The Inhabited Man (2009), The Darkening Sky (2019) Recent Productions include: A double bill of Quick Death and Slow Love (La Mama, 2015); a double bill of two Belgian plays, Four Men and Dog Play (Elvis Peeters: La Mama, 2017); In the Solitude of Cotton Fields (B-M Koltes: La Mama, 2019); Broken River (Tony Reck: La Mama, 2019), and The Darkening Sky (Murphet: Theatre Works, 2021). He will direct Julius Caesar for Melbourne Shakespeare Company in August. Murphet worked at the Victorian College of the Arts for 2 decades where he was Head of Drama (2007-2009) and Head of Postgraduate Studies (1996 – 2006). He was a member of the Australian Performing Group, and the Artistic Director of the Mill Theatre Company. He was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award for his work in theatre at the Australian Greenroom Awards (2017). His book on Late-Modernist theatre practice, Acts of Resistance, was published by Brill Publications, Amsterdam in 2020.