|Premiere||26 September, 1989|
|Venue||U2 Universal Theatre, Fitzroy|
WOMEN ALONE was a collection of vignette acts devised and performed by Handspan woman members.
Participation in a creative development project was offered to four Handspan artists based on their proposals submitted to Executive Artistic Director, Trina Parker. It transpired that the concepts selected were all from women members and thus the idea to package the works as a 'women's' project was born.
The pieces were devised for table top performance, presented by visible puppeteers who animated their objects and interacted directly with them. Company members had been inspired to explore this staging style, common in European object theatre, since 1980 influenced by their participation in international puppet festivals. The work of French puppeteer, Jacques Templero in particular stimulated WOMEN ALONE and initially, there had been some discussion of inviting him to work with the company to develop the works. His availability to spend several weeks in Melbourne could not be confirmed and the project went ahead without his input.
In the end only three of the vignettes were developed to showcase, and these premiered in a double bill with No Right Angles in Paradise for the Melbourne Spoleto Fringe Festival in 1989, followed by an Adelaide Fringe Festival season in 1990. In Adelaide, when segments from Moments were included in the work. Only Katy Bowman and Michele Spooner's pieces were available to tour to the UNIMA Congress in Ljublijana in 1992. Michele revived her vignette The Immaculate Contraption for a performance at the 3rd International Women Playwright's Conference in Adelaide in 1994.
WOMEN ALONE included:
|Listening for the Heartbeat|
This piece, devised by Annie Wylie was an original, unaccompanied song cycle performed in three segments - Red Riding Hood, Invitation and I Sometimes Feel So Empty.
Program notes explained that the songs described:
Each song was performed by Annie as she operated simple and comic pop up scenes on her table-top which were played as interludes between the other acts in the production.
|The Immaculate Contraption|
Michele Spooner devised The Immaculate Contraption which showed the journey of an egg trying to be fertilised across three eras
Katy Bowman brought her independently created production, inspired by Belgian surrealist painter, Rene Magritte's work, Le Therapeute, to Handspan for presentation as part of WOMEN ALONE.
The work was developed with Ariette Taylor and like Ariette's production, Four Little Girls, aimed to bring the painting to life at the same time as revealing the inner world of the character represented by the image.
WOMEN ALONE was well received by both audiences and critics:
The sell-out showcase season in fact, saw it extended for a further week after its Fringe dates.
At the Adelaide Festival Fringe a few months later, the production was awarded 4 Stars by The Advertiser critic, Adele Ferguson, and won the paper's weekly Fringe Award for Excellence. Anthill Theatre's newsletter in Melbourne summarised the Adelaide Fringe Festival in its Festival Fulminations noting that:
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|Listening to the Heartbeat|
|Devised by||Annie Wylie|
|Designed & directed||Ken Evans|
|The Immaculate Contraption|
|Devised & designed||Michele Spooner|
|Devised & designed by||Katy Bowman|
|Directorial assistance||Ariette Taylor|
|Lighting Design||Philip Lethlean|
|26 - 30 September 1989||U2, Universal Theatre, Fitzroy, Spoleto Fringe Festival, Melbourne|
|5 - 8 October 1989||Extended season: U2, Universal Theatre, Fitzroy, Spoleto Fringe Festival, Melbourne|
|12 - 18 March, 1990||Lion Theatre, Living Arts Centre, Adelaide Fringe Festival|
|North Shepparton Secondary College, Goulburn Valley Community Music Autumn Series, Victoria|
|14 - 19 June, 1992||16th UNIMA Congress, Ljublijana, Slovenia|
|4 July, 1994||Space Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre, 3rd International Women Playwrights Conference|
|Total audiences||700 (excluding 1992)|
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