Long ago, his parents ‘dropped out’ to follow a hippie lifestyle. Now his father lies paralysed in a coma, his older sister is consumed by hate, his grandma exists in a fog of dementia and his once-carefree mother can’t cope.
For Ort, the struggle to understand the world around him draws him towards the supernatural. Lonely, frightened, loving unconditionally and full of optimism, he becomes obsessed with the belief that somewhere ‘up there’ someone or something watches over them all, controlling their destiny, and that his father can be cured.
Then one day a mysterious stranger appears and bewitches them all.
Tim Winton’s novel about a young boy’s experiences of love, loss, faith and family has been adapted into an evocative piece of theatrical magic-realism embracing the author’s rich colloquial language and infused with humour, spirituality and humanity.
We welcome back director David Burrowes, who brought a vibrant, irreverent and modern take on The School For Scandal to the New Theatre stage in 2015.
“One of the great things about taking on this project has been revisiting Tim Winton’s novel”, says Dave. “It’s such an incredible, complex and nuanced work, and I find his realistic cynicism very compelling, his ability to tell a touching story but avoid sentimentality, grounding it very much in the recognisable and the everyday.
“The characters are broken people, there’s no triumphant redemption, but it’s not a depressing story. It serves as a metaphor for what many of us experience in life – the ups and the downs, coping and surviving despite the odds.”
It’s been an exciting time in the rehearsal room as the team works to shape what audiences will see on the New’s stage next month.
“We’re using the structure of Richard Roxburgh and Justin Monjo’s 1994 adaptation,” says Dave, “but we’re bringing much more of the book’s wonderful prose into it, so in some ways this is a new performance text. Our aim is to challenge audiences expectations of what theatre can be.”
Dave has pulled together a top creative team to work with him on That Eye, The Sky. Tom Bannerman(set) is one of Sydney’s most experienced stage designers; his genius can be seen currently on the New Theatre stage in a multi-level wonder for The Ritz. Benjamin Brockman (lighting) is one of the brightest talents to emerge on the scene in the past few years. Previously at New Theatre, he was responsible for the evocative lighting design for When the Rain Stops Falling (2015). Other memorable work includes the striking palette of primary colours used for Shivered (Mad March Hare at PACT Theatre, 2015). Alana Canceri (costumes) has been wardrobe coordinator and/or designer on many productions, most recently My Zinc Bed and Good People, both for Ensemble Theatre.
Director: David Burrowes
Set Designer: Tom Bannerman
Lighting Designer: Benjamin Brockman
Costume Designer: Alana Canceri
Co-Sound Designers/Composers: Hugo Smart, Dean Revell
Dramaturg: Rachel Chant
Production Manager: Mikaela Atallah
Stage Manager: Patrick Howard
Alex Bryant-Smith, Joel Horwood, Shaun Martindale, Jenae O’Connor, Romney Stanton, Simon Thomson, Emma Wright
SEASON 15 March – 16 April
Previews: Tuesday 15 and Wednesday 16 March 7.30pm
Opening Night: Thursday 17 March 7.30pm
Season: Thursday – Saturday 7:30pm, Sunday 5pm
Final performance: Saturday 16 March 5pm
TICKET PRICES $17 – $32
BOOKINGS NEWTHEATRE.ORG.AU (no booking fee)
VENUE New Theatre, 542 King Street Newtown