Duets For Lovers And Dreamers – a series of six evocative duets, each capturing the intimate moments of everyday life.
A pre-pubescent girl struggles to make sense of her place in the world while clouds sweep overhead; old lovers reveal the life still within; a mother interacts with her previous ‘self’; a man obsesses over a woman he briefly encounters in a bar; new lovers sing karaoke; and a young woman and her deceased grandmother reflect on life and the journey ahead.
Winner of the R.E. Ross Trust’s Playwrights’ Script Development Award, Duets for Lovers and Dreamers by Sandra Fiona Long (Tyrant With Sharks, The Wind in BMinor, Happy 1000 1000 Bahagia) is a cycle of ‘duets’ for theatre that celebrate humanity at different stages of life, in relationship to nature and the supernatural. A highly physical and vocal work of theatre, it is both romantic and dreamlike, fusing performance, dance and contemporary vocal music with the spoken word, which at times veers into the realm of libretto. This work has been in development for two years.
R.E. Ross Trust Awards Judge commented: " A wonderfully poetic piece of writing. Gentle yet evocative, each story sensitively and imaginatively deals with an aspect of life, death and the human condition. The story is interpreted and performed though a combination of image, music, text and dance. This interweaving of simultaneous narratives deftly reflects the multi-faceted nature of each experience. This multi-layered script will create a very full and complex piece of theatre."
The play features Helen Morse who is one of Australia’s leading actors. She graduated from NIDA in 1965 and played with the Old Tote and Nimrod Theatres in Sydney and Melbourne and has starred in a number of major films including; Caddie, Picnic at Hanging Rock, Agatha and Far East. She has received numerous awards during her long acting career including the Penguin Writer’s Club Award for best actress in Marion, an AFI Award for best actress in Picnic at Hanging Rock and Caddie, a Logie for best actress in A Town Like Alice, a best actress award at the San Sebastian Film Festival for her performance in Caddie and a best actress, New Zealand Television Award for Iris.
“I began my acting career touring NSW country towns,’’ Morse says. “Coffs Harbour, Bourke, Wagga, Deniliquin. We’d be playing to schools as well as adults, so sometimes we’d be doing two shows a day. The coach we were travelling in would sometimes break down and we’d have to be towed into town. But we muddled along."
Morse remembers being in full Elizabethan costume edging down a flight of stairs at the back of one venue to get to the public toilets out the back which would usually be full of frogs.
Morse has an interest in work that explores women and the choices they make: “.. the dynamics of the relationship between the women, the shifts in power, how alliances are formed, moments when they find they have a lot in common and moments when they have nothing in common…. It is important to have a broader canvas than just their personal relationship with a man."
Morse also bemoans the dearth of really good stage and screen roles for older women but has acknowledged Cate Blanchett’s role in generating a theatrical buzz after winning an Oscar. “I think everybody takes awards with a grain of salt but when Cate played in the STC’s Hedda Gabler, it was completely sold out straight away. They were selling spots on the staircase.’’
Duets For Lovers and Dreamers is at fortyfivedownstairs November, December 2010.