Performance – Marvellous Now – Meredith Rogers, Hester Joyce, Maude Davey

Performance

Marvellous Now – The Audio Version

  • Writers/Performers – Meredith Rogers and Hester Joyce
  • Director/Dramaturg – Maude Davey
  • Composer – Madeleine Flynn

Marvellous began as a sort of long goodbye from two older daughters to their mothers who were in the last stages of their living and dying. It is a play about the everyday lives and extravagant, sometimes fantastical inner lives of two nonagenarian women and their 60+ plus daughters. It inter-weaves the voices and psycho-physicalities of these women: their connectedness, their failing/falling bodies and their wayward imaginative memory worlds. At this stage the Covid 19 lockdowns have seen the live performance for La Mama postponed twice. We are sure we will be able to perform that play (or a version of it) live to an audience sharing the same space at some time in the future. In the meantime we are sharing here an audio version along with some work-in-progress visual materials towards a digital iteration).

The pandemic has not simply required us to turn to new methods for presenting the material, but also to pay serious attention to the new challenges our subjects face in this transformed environment. In the current climate of guilt-induced sentimentality and political point scoring using the lives and deaths of our oldest citizens, the inner lives behind the wrinkled faces on our TV screens are made more invisible than ever. The conflicted, emotions of their sons and daughters are similarly reduced to sound bites and screen grabs. 

While never entirely losing sight of the physical realities of these protagonists’ lives and deaths, our digital exploration will focus on their inner lives. It will dwell on their states of dream and delirium, their wondering about the condition of non-being ahead, their internal arguments with themselves and with those they hold closest.

Marvellous Now will give back to audiences many of their own experiences and dilemmas in being, or caring for, what the demographers call the “oldest old” in our families and communities. 

Format:

  • 15 minutes introduction from Hester, Meredith and Maude
  • 30 minutes of Audio with a work-in-progress presentation of visual materials 15 minutes discussion
  • Audience members are welcome to bring along a drink

Meredith Rogers (PhD) has chalked up 5 decades of making, teaching and writing about theatre and performance, most recently with queer site-specific theatre company, Gold Satino, co-writing and performing in Seduction 2019 and This Is Grayson 2018 (Two Green Room Awards) for Melbourne International Fringe Festival, and playing Maria in Bagryana Popov’s site-specific Uncle Vanya over five seasons, concluding in the Adelaide Festival for the Arts 2019 (Hans Heysen’s House, Adelaide Hills).In the 1980s she co-founded the feminist theatre company Home Cooking Theatre Co. for which she performed, co-designed or directed, and produced six productions includingthe much-travelled and anthologised Running Up a Dress. She played Clytemnestra in James McCaughey’s Oresteia at the Pram Factory in 1974, the same year she became assistant director of the contemporary art gallery, the Ewing and George Paton. She was also a member of the editorial collective of Lip – a feminist journal of the visual arts, and She left the gallery to join the innovative and influential Mill Theatre Company in Geelong. Her book, The Mill: Experiments in Theatre and Community was published in 2016 by Australian Scholarly Publishing. An Honorary Life Member of ADSA, she co-edited Australasian Drama Studies from 2013 – 2017. 

Hester Joyce trained at Theatre Corporate in Auckland (1980-1983), two years in the ensemble included roles in Piaf, Mother Courage, Elephant Man, Top Girls, Outside In, Vinegar Tom, As You Like It, and Phaedra. Hester also created performances with children, adolescents, indigenous and minority cultures as well as industry professionals: Promise Not to Tell (Scott, 1983), Pass It On (Renee, 1984) Guide to Life (Dramadillo, 1987) and as scriptwriter and dramaturge for Douglas Wright Dance Company, Forbidden Memories (1997) and Buried Venus (1996). As Script Consultant/Reader/Assessor (1998-09) she has numerous screen credits, including working for TVNZ Drama Department, on Gloss, producer Janice Finn (1986-1991) Shadow Trader, Producer Finola Dwyer (1990), Boy from Andromeda producer Caterina de Nave (1990), TV 3 Sunday Night Drama, executive producer Fiona Copland, NZ on Air/TV3 (1996-7), with NZ Film Commission and NZ on Air , NZ Screenwriters Lab 2002/04 and AFC. Her film credits include: as Trish, The Five Provocations (Black, 2018), April (lead) Sure to Rise (Caro, 1994) in competition Palme d’Or 1994 Cannes Film Festival, short film Capture (writer/producer/director,2013). Hester (PhD 2003) teaches scriptwriting, and installation at La Trobe University (2004-20). Institution, Industry & Cultural Change (Trisha Dunleavy & Hester Joyce, 2012) was published by Intellect, UK. 

Maude Davey OAM has been making work in and out of Melbourne for more than thirty years. Trained as an actor at VCA, she regularly appears in film, on TV and on stage. She traveled the world with Finucane & Smith’s The Burlesque Hour/Glory Box. Her autobiographical retrospective, My Life in the Nude, was acclaimed all over the country. Her show Retro Futurismus toured Australia over 4 years and was nominated for 6 Green Room Awards. In 2019 she and Mama Alto created Gender Euphoria, presented by Arts Centre Melbourne at the Melbourne Festival, and at Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras 2020. Recent acting includes Anthem, (Melbourne Festival 2019, Sydney and Perth Festivals 2020); and Melancholia (Malthouse Theatre) for which she won a Green Room Award for Outstanding Performance. Film and TV work includes: Five Bedrooms, Sisters, The Left Overs (HBO); Offspring; My Year Without Sex, (Sarah Watts), Noise (Matthew Saville), and Summer Heights High. She has made four solo shows: My Life in the Nude, Future of the Species Part One (2004), Pickle or the Pickle Jar (2000) and Mouthing the Day (1992). She was Artistic Director of Vitalstatistix Theatre Company 2002-2007, and of Melbourne Workers Theatre, 2008-2009.