demens: chilling theatre explores the blurred boundary between
sanity and insanity
‘I know who I am. Most of the time.’
Set in the claustrophobic world of a psychiatric hospital, demens balances extreme pathos with flashes of dark humour as it probes themes of desire, patriarchy and prejudice through the eyes of four people. Each has suffered trauma. Each is damaged, but not broken.
With echoes of a modern-day Blanche Dubois, the pensive Lilith (Louise Crawford) yearns for a lobotomy to cut away the memories that torment her. She obsesses over the tragic figures of Anna Karenina and Emma Bovary – fellow victims of society, who, like Lilith, were also ‘punished’ for daring to break moral and social boundaries.
The manic, troubled, yet adorable Allan (Jai Luke) is fixated on tales of people disappearing at sea. Surely the only answer to these mysteries can be an inter-dimensional vortex – through which he could make his own escape from the pain of his real world?
At the core of Nurse Gabriel (Philip Cristian Claassen) lie sadism, religious obsession and a desire to manipulate. The sexuality of Lilith and Allan both excites and repulses him. He believes he can ‘save’ them. But what are his motives?
The tortured Dr Osmond (Don Bridges) masks his sinister nature behind a very thin veneer of middle-class respectability … yet that veneer is beginning to crack.
An evocative soundscape punctuates the dark themes of this poignant yet gloriously twisted and unnerving piece of theatre.
July 14 – 24
Bluestone Church Arts Space, 10A Hyde Street, Footscray