|Premiere||8 June 1995|
|Venue||George Fairfax Studio, Victorian Arts Centre, Melbourne|
DAZE OF OUR LIVES was a visual theatre interpretation of Melbourne cartoon artist Mary Leunig’s1 work.
Leunig’s published drawings - There’s No Place Like Home (Penguin 1985), A Piece of Cake (Penguin 1985), and One Big Happy Family (1992), collect her darkly witty commentary on domestic life. Their unusual and slightly disturbing look at motherhood, housework, family life, alienation and fantasies was the stimulus for the style and the story of the play.
Staged through gestural movement and animated design, it was described as:
DAZE OF OUR LIVES was directed by Annie Wylie, who also co-wrote the play with Katy Bowman. It was based on several creative development periods during 1994 with Handspan performers, and consultations with Leunig to ensure that interpretation of her drawings remained as a close as possible to their original intention.
The writers found creating a play from preconceived images was a more difficult process than they had anticipated. The work was originally conceived for performance using only articulated images, props and body costume puppets manipulated in black theatre to bring Leunig’s cartoons to life on stage. As its development evolved however, dramatisation of the cartoon moments centred on its pivotal housewife character which became an actor's role, created by Julie Forsyth. It was accompanied by percussionist, Peter Neville’s soundtrack and had no spoken text or dialogue as envisaged from the outset.
'She' or 'Her' became the universal housewife whose world came alive as her domestic objects embroiled her in chaos that was by turn hilarious, poignant and darkly frightening.
Laurel copied several of Leunig's cartoon elements in her staging and articulated images, but enhanced their characteristics and dramatic capacity, aiming to
Following its Melbourne premiere season, DAZE OF OUR LIVES followed Handspan’s award winning production, Four Little Girls, to the Ibero-American Theatre Festival in Bogota, Columbia in 1996, and subsequently toured Sydney, Canberra (with Colette Mann in the role of She) and Adelaide.
The production was nominated for a 1995 Melbourne Green Room Award and critics were fascinated and predominantly enthusiastic.
Some reviewers, particularly in Canberra at the National Theatre Festival, were critical of the play:
Such responses, and with a proposed tour of the work to Germany in 1998, 'prompted a structural review of the work to be carried out in 1997' according to incoming Artistic Director David Bell in his Artistic Report for 19962. However, in his new programming and plans for the company, this did not eventuate.
- Mary Leunig website
- Handspan Theatre Annual Report 1996
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|Written & Devised||Katy Bowman and Annie Wylie|
|Assistant Director||Katy Bowman|
|Lighting designer||Philip Lethlean|
|Creative Development||Julie Forsyth, Clodagh Wylie, Winston Appleyard & Avril McQueen|
|Housewife||Julie Forsyth, Colette Mann (Columbia tour & Canberra season, 1996)|
|Production Manager||Liz Pain|
|Stage manager||Penny Gutteridge (1995), Natasha Marich (1996)|
|Assistant stage manager||Joe Norster|
|Builders/ Scenic Artists||Katy Bowman, Cliff Dolliver, Rod Primrose, Rob Matson, Paul Newcombe, Tien Giang Tran, Katrina Gaskell|
|Graphic designer||Rob Hall, Cornell Jenkins Hall|
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|8 - 17 June||George Fairfax Studio, Victorian Arts Centre|
|4th Ibero-American Theatre Festival, Bogota, Columbia.|
|7-17 August||Glen Street Theatre, Sydney, NSW|
|4 -19 October||Theatre 3, National Festival of Australian Theatre, Canberra|
|6-16 November||Space Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre, SA|
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