The Flood. The sheep farm is now dilapidated. The farm house, dark and squalid, still sits by the river. A tiny rundown living room is lit by broken lampshades, throwing an uncertain light onto piles and piles of magazines, a life in wreckage, a mad old lady, and her isolated hard-drinking daughter. As the sun sets, the flood waters rise. The memories are seeping through the floorboards. The screen door bangs open in the soughing wind and rain, and Catherine returns home from London. Three women are now trapped in the house – a mother and her two estranged daughters; one who takes care of her, one who has been away for twenty years.
Set against a vast dark painting of an Australian moonlit landscape – seen dimly through a veil of flywire – The Flood is an Australian Gothic, full of hidden secrets, looming unnamed threats, a heightened landscape both haunting and hostile, and the terrible undertow that the monsters are inside, not outside.
The work is realised by an extraordinary group of Australian theatre makers who have between them won over 20 theatre awards and is brought to life by 3 of Australia’s finest theatre actresses Maude DAVEY, Caroline LEE & Shirley CATTUNAR; who have won Best Actress again and again; starring in Cate Blanchett’s directorial debut at the STC (Lee), walking away with Best Actress at the Berlin Film Festival (Davey), and, after 50 years in theatre, unable to keep up with the torrent of accolades (Cattunar).
The Flood will seep in and the watermarks will remain.
A Finucane & Smith creation
Written by: Jackie Smith
Directed by: Moira Finucane
Performed by: Maude Davey, Caroline Lee & Shirley Cattunar
Lighting designer: Simon Hunt
Sound designers: Darrin Verhagen & Ben Keene (Shinjuku Thief)
Set designer: Kathryn Sproule
Produced by: Finucane & Smith
Dec 2009 premiere season, La Mama Theatre, Melbourne Aug 2007 first reading La Mama Theatre, Melbourne
“The Flood is a dark & ingenious piece of Australian gothic”
“It’s the best new piece of theatre I have seen this year”
“A sense of menace, entrapment and thwarted hope lurk in Jackie Smith’s latest play”
“Smith’s handling of the gothic form is masterful …You have to see this. It’s Australian theatre that speaks from the heart of the country”
“Brilliant dialogue that at its best sounds overheard”
“It’s an Australian Gothic horror that defines the genre”
“Evocative…claustrophobic… and despite the dark themes, often funny…this is a strong new play with a distinctly Australian flavour” Herald Sun
“The celebrated claustrophobic space of La Mama is electrified by the performances”
“The cast… I am at a loss for words. They never let us see the acting”
“See it. See it. See it.”
“Quietly committed, rare and compelling; mummified in a stifling environment of slow decay and familial secrets. Slow burning…ultimately memorable”
“Engrossing, heartbreaking, delicate and frightening”
The Flood (China)