From Australian playwright Fleur Murphy comes a compelling new theatre drama, 'Hearth’.
This urgent, heartfelt, raw and hilarious play is set during the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires – which also just happens to be character Tom Robinson’s 18th birthday. Family tensions rise along with the temperature, and before the ice-cream cake has time to melt, a deeply-held family secret is revealed.
'Hearth' was forged amid the exploration of an environmental threat all too familiar to Australians – an approaching bushfire – a threat which a number of the country's residents were faced with in a big way as recently as two years ago.
'Hearth' aims to strike a balance between pathos and humour with witty and lyrical dialogue, featuring a cast including Geoff Paine, Sonya Suares, Martin Blum, Carole Patullo, Eleanor Webster and Kurt Pimblett.
Here, in honour of the play's setting, some of the cast and crew of 'Hearth' tell us about some of their favourite spots in Victoria.
Clare Springett – Lighting Designer.
One of the amazing things about touring with theatre, is being able to visit so many different and special places around Victoria and Australia. While on tour I was able to go to Budj Bim National Park and learnt about the history of it. It’s gorgeous! Budj Bim National Park - Budj Bim Cultural Landscape The last show I worked on ('The Mission') was partly about the history of the Gunditjmara peoples and how Budj Bim (Ancestral Creator/a God) created the landscape out of the volcano (Budj Bim/Mount Eccles) eruption. Tom (Gunditjmara man and storyteller) took us to Budj Bim and showed us all of the locations that he talks about in the show and went through the history of the Aboriginal Mission in that area. So, although parts of the history are really intense, being able to be on Country with Tom, telling stories and learning history I had never heard before, was mind-blowing. And all of it is at our back door.
Fleur Murphy – Playwright.
During the development of 'Hearth' I visited the Redwood Forest with my husband and five-year-old daughter. We were all rugged up in our coats, scarves and boots, ready for an adventure. When we stepped into the rows and rows of gigantic, towering redwoods, we felt like we’d been shrunk down to the size of gnomes and had entered a magical world. While we were exploring the redwoods and the surrounding tracks along the creek, we stumbled upon a group that were dressed in fantasy costumes. My daughter’s eyes widened and her little jaw dropped as she came face to face with 'a real fairy'. The 'fairy' gently approached her and gave her a crystal. It was such a lovely day full of adventure and magic, and is one destination I will never forget.
Sonya Suares – Actor.
I love the bush walks and various trails around Warburton. The rainforest surrounding Mount Donna Buang is so ancient and magical; then there's the utterly unexpected plantation of Californian redwoods that transport you immediately to the Muir Woods on the other side of the world. Traipsing along the main street in Warby and dipping in and out of the shops/skirting the clear water of the Yarra is such a pleasure any time of the year – I have such a soft spot for that town. That and the Mornington Peninsula Hot Springs, which is my happy place since I haven't managed to live in a house with a bath since drama school days.
Geoff Paine – Actor.
We love visiting our caravan at Sandy Point (down near Wilsons prom), but to get there, I sometimes ride the motorbike through the state forest at Powelltown and down through tiny places south of the Princes Highway, like Thorpedale. As I buzz through the picture perfect, postcard hills of South Gippsland, I always wonder what secrets these townships hold, what they were like in their heyday, when it was timber cutting and dairy farming and Saturday dances in those long-abandoned local halls. It sometimes feels like a theme park for motorcycling, flying along high ridges with views all the way to the Prom, then curving down into fern-lined gullies with strands of big gums still intact. It makes me wonder what we’ve done to the landscape, and maybe what we can undo with a bit of replanting and conservation.
Carole Patullo – Actor.
Flat Rocks Inverloch (you can’t camp there now). Beautiful summers surfing and rock pooling with my father and brother, for hours. Where I had my first big kiss with a boy called Michael and told my parents I’d been playing hide and seek with other holiday kids. Going to the local cinema and seeing Jane Fonda in 'Barbarella'. Mind-blowing and a bit risqué! Long walks to Eagle’s Nest. Drives through the Strzelecki Ranges and a counter lunch when it wasn’t a 'beach day'. Sculpting mermaids in the sand and eating freshly-caught fish and chips. 'Hearth' plays La Mama Courthouse (Melbourne) 18-29 May.