Written by Campion Decent Directed by Kim Hardwick
Cast Robert Alexander, James Lugton, Anna Volska.
A successful man of the theatre finds a front row seat in a strange new tragicomedy: the undignified death of his parents. There’s not much time left for either his ailing mother the actress, still prone to meladramatics, or his father the salesman, still flogging his side of the story. But there’s just enough time to open old wounds and have a jolly good go at new ones.
At once personal and universal, Unholy Ghosts invites us to reflect on the narrative turning point that visits all our life stories. It’s an irreverent, life-affirming take on loss with all the inherent funniness of a good funeral.
A family portrait painted in warm, uplifting colours, Unholy Ghosts won Campion Decent the 2012 Rodney Seaborn Playwright’s Award and is directed by Kim Hardwick.
What the Reviewers said:
‘Curiously little art about the art of dying exists, and yet we must all blunder our way with more or less grace through the deaths of others and, ultimately, our own. Campion Decent has tried to redress this shortfall with an amusing, autobiographical play about the deaths of his divorced parents.’ John Shand, Sydney Morning Herald read more
‘For a play about death, Unholy Ghosts is frequently, genuinely funny. With a dying mother who is a faded star of “stage and radio”, there are plenty of “darlings” and various dramatics that can only, even within the throes of tragedy, be ridiculous; add to that a dying realist salesman father possessed of deep pragmatism, resignation and impatience, and the jokes evolve quickly and naturally out of dialogue. In this way the play manages to feel honest and certainly relatable; the human creases of personality that infiltrate the impossibly sad ritual of dying and family loss mean that laughs are still going to happen, and possibly at the worst possible moments. It’s how we keep living.
As the mother who wears lipstick even for the priest who is coming to administer her last rites Anna Volska is a hoot, a gand dame with long limbs and a beautiful, likable habit of reciting Shakespeare – everyone loved her Ophelia. Robert Alexander as the gruff father is delightfully cantankerous, and for carrying the entire play, for talking to us and his parents and for feeling the fresh pain of death night upon night James Lugton is excellent, this likable everyman.’ Cassie Tongue, AussieTheatre.com read more
‘Decent writes with enough specificity to make these characters startlingly real, but he’s also telling a broader story about relationships between parents and children and the role death plays in our lives. As the son says at the end of the play – our parents teach us how to live and how not to live. But they also teach us how to die.
There are fine performances from James Lugton as the son and Anna Volska as the mother. Lugton brings vivacity and resilience to his performance, as well as the damage that resulted from his tumultuous childhood. He’s also the audience’s guide to the family, narrating his way through, providing us with the back-story and his own perceptions. Volska presents is a powerful portrayal of a woman struggling to maintain her dignity and former glory, and is in fine comedic form.’ Ben Neutze, Daily Review – Crikey.com read more
‘Directed by Kim Hardwick, Unholy Ghosts is not forced nor overplayed, but finds a grace and humanity in its theatrical origins and forebears, in its allusions and unique voice. An emotional knife in the heart, it takes us to the edge of the abyss, dares us to stare it in the face, and then to journey back from it, stronger and wiser. It gets under your skin, affects you without you realising it, until you’re sobbing in the dark and trying to breathe, laughing amongst (and despite) the tears streaming freely down your face. Proving once again that, amongst death, we can only find Life.’ Glenn Saunders, The Spell of Waking Hours blogspot read more
Running time – 90 minutes no interval
Please join us for supper after the show in the Upper Foyer.
$15 Student Rush tickets will be available all day on the day of the show – book on-line or at the Box Office. Student ID will be required for ticket collection.