Epic new Norwegian play makes its premiere in Melbourne
With a cast of thirteen and set in the vast space of Kensington Town Hall, Verve Studios and La Mama Theatre come together to present Lene Therese Teigen’s magnificent new work for the 2016 Melbourne Fringe Festival. From sept 23rd to oct 8th 2016.
Set in an epic landscape of intimate moments, thirteen people stretch their lives through the lens of a contemporary Chekhovian tale. Their question – How do we stand on our own two feet when we don’t know where the ground lies?
Falling Apples will be directed by award-winning theatre-maker and Artistic Director of Verve Studios, Peta Hanrahan: “It is a very rare gift indeed for any director, to have the opportunity of such a beautifully crafted script, with so much scope for creative and performance expansion. The best stories we tell in theatre hold a secret truth, Falling Apples is an elegant, velvet hammer of sub-conscious discovery.”
LES PRESSEMELDING/MEDIA RELEASE: Falling-Apples-MR
NYTT ETTERORD TIL BOKEN EPLER SOM FALLER (kommer på Transit Forlag desember 2016)
LES ETTERORDET HER: etterord-til-epler-som-faller
THE AUSTRALIAN CAST – ACTORS
James Bolton as Frank, Laura Burzacott as Maria, Brianagh Curran as Susanne, Sam Duncan as Nikolai, Timmy Knowles as Victor, Tina Leah as Astraia, Ben O’Connor as Peter, Marissa O’Reilly as Elina, Steve Psoras as Jakob, Fiona Scarlett as Anna, Jessica Stevens as Stella, Robert Warburton as Paul and Elisabeth Huey Williams as Catherine
Review: Falling Apples by Narrell Harris
I have this neat little writing room in the Nicholas Building in Melbourne, which I share with a few other writers. The room right next door to ours is home to Verve Studios, an acting school. Every now and then my writing time and their rehearsal time coincides, which isn’t necessarily the right atmosphere for getting much writing done, but when you’re as endlessly nosy curious as me, it’s just another insight into my fellow human beings.
When I learned that Verve’s graduating actors were appearing in a La Mama co-production out in Kensington, naturally I wanted to see it. The play, Falling Apples, by Norweigen playright Lene Therese Teigen, talks about “how we see our personal futures and how we so easily relinquish self-determination and sew our destiny into the lives of others”.
This link between Verve and me is an intriguing parallel with the themes of Falling Apples, in which a cast of thirteen fill up a long stage facing the single line of chairs for the audience. The characters wander to and fro – sometimes running, sometimes performing subtle pantomimes that reflect scenes to come – and in groups of two or three, they coalesce into a short exchange of dialogue, before the characters spin back out to bounce through the vast stage.
Slowly a story emerges – a husband and wife in a terrible car accident and falling into persistent unconscious states. This affects their adult children; the people that these adult children know – a neighbour, a lover, an employee, his brother and his girlfriend, the employee’s ex-girlfriend, her sister and her sister’s boyfriend, the driver of the other car, and a woman from Russia seeking more than just a job. The links get more and more tenuous, yet the filament of connection remains.
Most intriguing of all is the thirteenth character – a young woman who has been a painting for 500 years. Her ambitions to become an artist herself were frozen by her father, but she steps out of the prison of this painting where she’s been an observed object and now observes, and tries to help, all the others.
A strong sense of both attraction and repulsion exists in the way characters are drawn together and fly apart. Almost like a tray of balls sliding about, these people meet, collide, spin off, until there’s a sudden moment of coalescence. Dressed in black for a funeral, these thirteen characters all pull together in the gravity of the situation. Seated directly opposite audience members, stories are finally revealed, connections made clearer, disconnections resolved…
Until, in the final moments, a storm seems to break out and refracture the group once more.
The aforementioned gravity seems to be part of a scientific undercurrent to the story of how this group interacts. Even the title is a reference to Newtonian physics. There’s a sense of watching bodies in orbit, of falling and flying, of entropy and creation. Their fates and how they intertwine seem to be subject to even bigger forces than their own desire to find somewhere solid to stand.
The acoustics of the Kensington Town Hall can be a bit challenging, but the cast do a fine job of delineating their characters and using the vast space in a complicated but engaging way. It takes a little while to get into the rhythm of this unusual production, but it’s fascinating and unusual and worth seeing.
Find out more about Falling Apples at La Mama Theatre
Afterword to Falling Apples/Writing Texts for the Stage translated by Neil Howard
EPLER SOM FALLER er en utfordrende ensembletekst med tretten likeverdige roller. Teksten kjennetegnes av spenstige forflytninger i tid og rom, og veksling mellom større ensemblesekvenser og korte dialoger og monologer. En vev av hendelser, med både teatrale deler og mer realistiske sekvenser som rommer både det underfundige og dypt alvor.
EPLER SOM FALLER handler om å finne mening i tilværelsen når de som egentlig ordner opp, foreldregenerasjonen, forsvinner eller har forsvunnet. Hvorfor velger man som man gjør: Hvilke forventninger om livet, kjærligheten og arbeidet, om nåtid og fremtid, har disse unge menneskene, og hvorfor. Vil møtene mellom dem forandre noe?
EPLER SOM FALLER presenterer en verden i miniatyr der man bare overlever om man innimellom velger å feste framfor å gråte.
Vi møter søskenparet Anna og Nikolai som lever ulike liv, den ene som arvtager til foreldregården, den andre som restauratør av renessansemalerier i Italia. Når foreldrene utsettes for en bilulykke utfordres søsknenes forventninger til hvordan livet vil bli, og en hel del andre mennesker blir også berørt av ulykken på ulike måter.
Scenetekst for tretten yngre skuespillere. 7 kvinner, 6 menn. Varighet 2-2,5 timer.
– FALLING APPLES translated to english by Neil Howard – in manusbanken/dramatiker.no