Life, love and politics are the driving forces behind Life After George, Melville Theatre’s latest offering this September.
Written by Hotel Sorrento author Hannie Rayson and directed by Val Riches, it follows the intertwined stories of some intriguing, but ultimately flawed, characters.
After the sudden death of Professor Peter George in a light plane crash, the AWGIE award-winning play explores what impact the loss has on the women he left behind.
“His three wives and daughter from his first marriage come together with George's best mate Duffy to plan the funeral and, in the process, reminisce through flashbacks on their individual times with George,” Riches said.
“The play covers the last 30 years of the 20th century and relates to issues I grew up with such as Paris in the late 60s and Che Guevera and it moves to women in the 80s, tapping away at the glass ceiling with some managing to break through.
“It then moves on to the more laissez-faire and accepting attitudes in the 90s.
Riches chose to direct Life After George because she is a fan of Australian plays.
With more than 45 years in theatre in New South Wales, Queensland and WA, Riches has been involved in almost every aspect – acting, directing, stage management, props, costumes, building sets – you name it, she’s done it.
A life member of Melville Theatre, she has also appeared in The Sound of Music at the Regal Theatre and The Sugar Mother at the Metcalfe Playhouse.
In 2009, Riches was nominated for best supporting actress at the annual Finley Awards for her role in Navigating.
She believes her biggest challenge with Life After George – which broke box office records during its Melbourne premiere season – is the play’s structure.
“Some of the story is told as a narrative with the actors engaging with the audience and it then moves into actual scenes played in a variety of loosely-denoted spaces on stage,” Riches said.
“Because the story is not sequential, the actors have the challenge of making the audience aware of the time changes. They’re also on stage for the entire play.
“Having said that, I’m extremely confident with the calibre of the cast I’ve chosen and feel completely confident and excited as to what the end product will be.”
Life After George plays at 8pm, September 7, 8, 13, 14, 15, 19, 20 and 21 with a 2pm matinee September 16. Tickets are $18, $14 concession – book on 9330 4565 or email email@example.com.
Melville Theatre is on the corner of Stock Road and Canning Highway, Palmyra. More information is available at www.meltheco.org.au.