Madeleine – a shadow in the house of love.


Arts House and Black Sequin Theatre present the second work in Melbourne-based writer/director Jenny Kemp’s triptych on mental illness, Madeleine, which follows the sell-out Melbourne Festival season of Kitten in 2008.
Madeleine is a  schizophrenic tragedy where Maddy’s internal, delusional world is played out on stage. It tells the story of Maddy who is turning 19. Her world is becoming increasingly bizarre as psychic forces beyond her control take hold. When her sister returns to the family home for the birthday she finds Maddy at a point of crisis, with the parents unable to cope. Maddy, desperate to obey the demands of her inner voices is pursuing a new and better world, dragging the whole family towards a tragic outcome.
Madeleine is presented as part of Arts House Future Tense programme.
 "The programme includes six premiere seasons and represents a snapshot of exhilarating contemporary theatre practise from emerging artists alongside established artists from both Australia and abroad. " says Arts House Artistic Director, Steven Richardson.

“Future Tense continues Arts House’s bold commitment to art that challenges our preconceptions and values,” Richardson continues. “We celebrate artistic practise that expands the traditional relationship between artist and audience and introduces an element of creative exchange."
Black Sequin Productions is listed as being a small cutting edge company that creates performance works, predominantly about women and women’s consciousness, that investigate the human psyche and it’s ability to function creatively in a contemporary world.
Madeleine certainly fits this template as does the philosophy of Madeleine’s writer and director Jenny Kemp as she talks about the creative process behind this very sensitive work.
"Madeleine has been and is a very complex piece to work on because of the nature of the content. In the writing stage I have attempted to express both the internal and external world of a schizophrenic woman and the impact of her illness on the rest of the family. The play explores the very different responses individuals have to mental illness and shows how behind closed doors families struggle to deal with this often hidden and taboo mental illness.
Jung has said that as humans our main fears are always of one of the following:
MADNESS / ABANDONMENT / DEATH = MAD. Madeleine is going M A D and those around her have to deal with it.
The following questions are raised: What is madness? Why do we become insane? Does it make sense? Is it a valid reality? Should the world of the insane be dismissed, as unreal or invalid? What can we ‘the sane’ do for, with or to ‘the insane’? How do we cope when a loved one goes insane? Is insanity contagious? Might we the ‘sane’ also go ‘mad’ one day?
Madeleine does not pretend to have answers, but attempts to bring this world of uncertainty into a presence, for contemplation. To provide a space within which these concerns can become a poetic reality – of both beauty and horror – through which to examine our responses."
Madeleine exposes the uncertain world of mental illness for open contemplation in a poetic reality of emotional depth, dark humour, beauty and horror. This highly researched and deeply moving drama reveals the inside world of a schizophrenic young woman and the traumatic consequences for those around her.
Venue: Arts House, North Melbourne Town Hall, 521 Queensberry St, North Melbourne
Season: August 2010