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SHANNON MURPHY, THE DIRECTOR | BROKEN

Broken first came to my attention in 2014 when I attended the Griffin Award for best new play. During the award ceremony nominees have excerpts from their play read and the portion of Broken left me haunted and uncomfortable. The conclusion to the story and the fate of its characters lingered and manifold interpretations presented themselves. I remember speaking to Mary Anne Butler afterwards in the foyer, feeling a pang of disappointment on hearing that the play already had a director attached for a Sydney season. Broken, of course, went on to win some extremely prestigious awards over the following year. So it was with great delight that I received the phone call from Executive Producer, Glenn Terry informing me that the original director, Matt Edgerton, was unable to stay with the project due to an appointment interstate. The play was now available for me to investigate and stage.

When a theatrical work is such an inspiring piece of poetic literature it begs the question, why not simply read it? What can be offered to the world of the text by performing it? This has been at the heart of our exploration of the work and so our approach has been to strip the production back to the basics of storytelling. Three people. Three voices. One space. Our focus on both the conscious and unconscious realities of the play is revealed by attentiveness to the tactility of sound throughout. The script is forwarded with a quote from Raymond Carver, ‘Emptiness is the beginning of all things’. Indeed, it is the base from which these three stories grow. Midnight, Central Desert in the Northern Territory, amidst silence, darkness and isolation. We are witness to a collision between three people; Ham, Ash and Mia, who all grapple with emotional dilemmas and potential consequences of decisions they make that night, decisions that will resonate long after the night is over.

This is a story about people who are confronted with raw, difficult choices. Whose lives are unequivocally interrelated and woven together. If you met someone who made you feel alive again for the first time in a long while would you be prepared to risk everything for the chance of them? How can we truly take care of each other? Can we see the cracks in our relationships before they tear us apart? So let us sit together in the dark, in the emptiness. Let us breathe a little slower as time expands and contracts. Give yourself permission to tune in and allow yourself to listen to the story we have to tell.

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Posted 26 Jul 2016

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