B.G.T. English Theatre Company
PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK
Based on the novel by Joan Lindsay
Newly-Adapted for the stage by Tom Wright
Centre Culturelle Neimënster, Salle Robert Krieps
Tuesday 24th, Wednesday 25th & Thursday 26th April 2018 at 19.30
“In a geological sense, we sleep on a sea of flame
And all through our land there are portals,
Gateways to eternal fire.
The doors of hell.”
“Picnic at Hanging Rock” is one of the great mystery stories of the 20th century. On Saint Valentine’s Day 1900, in the heat of the Australian late-summer, a party of school girls from Miss Appleyard’s Private Girls’ School goes on a day trip to the local geological wonder, “Hanging Rock”. In the sleepy haze of the afternoon, four girls set off to explore the rock … but three of them, and one school mistress, disappear without a trace! The ensuing search for the girls and the effect their disappearance has on the occupants of the school and on the local people leads to rumours and recriminations. Long-suppressed truths, sexual desires and obsessions surface which shake the late-Victorian order of the school. When one of the girls is found on the rock some weeks later, largely unharmed but with no memory of the events, the atmosphere reaches a boiling point which threatens to tear lives in the community apart.
Written in 1967, Joan Lindsay’s classic novel – supposedly based on real events, but never confirmed - looks at the destructive tensions which develop when mankind tries to impose regulation on nature and on wild emotions. Miss Appleyard’s School is a paragon of Victorian order and moral discipline, teaching girls to behave correctly and control their desires. But over it hangs the menacing shadow of Hanging Rock, “a carbuncle in this anti-Eden”, a symbol of the dark power of nature which is ready to erupt at any point.
Tom Wright’s brand-new adaptation of the novel, premiered in Melbourne in 2016, provides a new edge to the story by having all the roles, male and female, played by five women. Written in blank verse, he brings a vivid life to this haunting and enigmatic story.
Lighting: Matt Swithinbank
With: Laura Lizak, June Lowery, Gina Millington, Céline Planata, Martina Sardelli
Produced by arrangement with “Nick Hern Books”
Set design by Karl Pierce