PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK
Whispers. Thunder. Nowhere.
The Rock is a nightmare, and nightmares belong in the past…
On a summer’s day in 1900, three school girls and their teacher climb the notorious Hanging Rock. All but one are ever seen again. And so, the nightmare begins. The iconic tale, but not as you know it. This haunting adaptation from Tom Wright (Black Diggers) ventures deep into the heart of Australia. Joan Lindsay’s classic has never been so enduring.
"Richly layered work...A visceral imagining"
- Blue Curtains Brisbane
- Weekend Notes
"Impressive...Balances innovation whilst maintaining faithfulness to the source material"
- Dark Stories
"Strong performances...I am still thinking about [the show]"
- Catherine Lawrence
"Unforgettable...Deft direction, audacious staging"
- Bravo Brisbane
Playwright Tom Wright
Director / Designer Lachlan Driscoll
Fight Director Jason McKell
Movement Coach El Waddingham
Stage Manager / Assistant Director Rebecca Lynne
2023 Season. August 11 - 20
From Director Lachlan Driscoll: It's the question that has disturbed the minds of Australians since Joan Lindsay's novel was released in 1967: Where are Miranda, Marion, Irma and Miss McCraw? How could they disappear without a trace into the bush? Even today, many people believe the novel is based on fact (such is Lindsay's clever writing). In many ways it is. The themes strike a chord even today. Our relationship and history with the land we live upon remains largely unresolved. We try to ignore the land instead of working with it. We make sense of all phenomena in Australia through our narrow points of view. We label, categorise, systematise and standardise. But what, this play asks, is the cost of this way of living? If scientists estimate we can explain only 10% of our world, what else are we yet to discover? Are we making sense of our existence through the "right" logic, ideology or language? Are we really strangers on this land, isolated and disconnected from what it has to offer? What wisdom and knowledges lie beneath our feet, mainly lost to time? It is this grey area that we have been unpicking. It has not been an easy conversation.
Picnic at Hanging Rock is set against the ignorant history of English colonisation. The tension between the present and the past, between ancient and new traditions, fuels the hysteria of a culture that is not tolerant to difference. Or to questions that cannot be answered. It is this sense of panic and resistance that is amplified in this adaptation. Lindsay’s novel is revered because of its great unknowns. It has stuck with us for so long, percolating in our minds. Naturally we are curious creatures who want to know, but this story bothers us in deeper ways. It probes our very humanity. It punctures skin, flesh and bone. It exposes our mortality.
Exploring this adaptation has been like solving a puzzle. The language is precise and places Lindsay's original story under the microscope, looking for solutions to the questions it raises. We have grounded this production in this investigatory tone. But the answers are elusive. They have to be fought for tooth and nail. The search takes us to the edge of who we are and all that we know. How do we grapple with difficult and challenging truths? And even when we look them in the eye, can we ever accept them as they are? At the centre of the play is the urge to exercise our rational minds. Throughout the process, we discovered that often they fail us. And perhaps that's okay. I have been lucky to work through the possibilities of this play with a superb and generous team. Now it's time to leave these new perspectives on the classic story with you.
Don't think too hard.