Subversive theatre on centre stage

February 12, 2023 BY

Lina Libroaperto, Julie Fryman and Stacey Carmichael are the acting force behind The Bleeding Tree. Photos: ANGLESEA PERFORMING ARTS

Anglesea Performing Arts will back up its sold-out 2022 season production of The Bleeding Tree when it returns to the Platform Arts stage in Geelong later this month with the heavy hitting play.

Written by celebrated Australian playwright and performer Angus Cerini, the work has been described by critics as Gothic comedy for the way it spotlights domestic violence and compels audiences to situate themselves within that narrative.

“In a dirt-dry town in rural Australia, a shot shatters the still night. A mother and her daughters have just welcomed home the man of the house – with a crack in the shins and a bullet in the neck. The only issue now is disposing of the body,” the play’s synopsis states.

When staged in Sydney by the Griffin Theatre Company in 2016, it received one of the nation’s highest artistic accolades, winning Best Play at the 2016 Helpmann Awards.

It was there the present production’s director Iris Walshe-Howling said she “fell in love with its powerful, raw beauty and brave reversal of gender violence”.

“It attracted and repelled me simultaneously, but the gut-wrenching imagery created by Angus Cerini’s incisive poetic use of the Australian vernacular cuts straight to the heart,” she said.

“All my values were challenged as this gruesome, carnal act perpetrated by the three woman unfolded and permeated all my senses, scene by scene.”

Actors Lina Libroaperto, Julie Fryman and Stacey Carmichael help Walshe-Howling bring the story to life, accompanied by an original score performed live by Kirstin Honey.

The Bleeding Tree will be performed at Platform Arts from February 22-25.

For more information, head to platformarts.org.au/events/the-bleeding-tree