Tag: Annie Lumsden


Violence comes to light

By Myron My

My second play by writer Adam J. Cass during this 2015 Melbourne Fringe festival continues with his running critique of society and the treatment of its people. However, unlike the refugee theme of Fractured, Bock Kills Her Father contemplates the long-lasting effects a group of women must deal with after being at the mercy of one man.

Bock Kills Her Father

Penny Harpham‘s strong direction never allows the action on the small La Mama stage to become overwhelming or cramped, especially when there are five aggressive and angry characters on stage. The choreography for the fight scenes is executed well, with some very convincingly painful moments. There is only one time where the fight scenes disappoint and that is when Sarah (powerfully played by Annie Lumsden) is attacked. Due to the hardness of the adult women we had previously seen, it felt more like something young children would do to each other and as such, its intensity was lost.

Despite this, Cass has created a script that draws the audience into the pressure cooker of how a patriarchal society – and in this case, a cowering unseen man – still has the power to control these women’s lives. For the most part, the language is raw and authentic and I could not help but be reminded of Patricia Cornelius’s Shit, which played during MTC’s NEON season earlier this year. In fact, thematically Bock Kills Her Father could easily be appreciated as a natural prequel to Shit, in considering how the cycle of women being victims will continue to repeat itself if society does nothing.

These women however – the five actors on stage – do a great job in these physically and emotionally demanding roles. Emina Ashman, as the slightly unhinged D’Agostino, captures the attention of the audience in every scene she is in. Ashman’s portrayal is a perfect combination of endearing, annoying and incredibly frightening. Together with Marissa O’Reilly and Ruby Hughes (as Taylor and Chambers), the three women are all highly convincing in their characters and in their relationships with each other. I would have liked to see Emma Annand be pushed slightly more with difficult title character Bock, to ensure all her character’s choices seem genuine and not forced.

While Bock Kills Her Father isn’t the most polished of works, the grittiness and dirtiness of the world we find ourselves in makes this work in its favour. Nothing is ever going to be perfect for these women; they are unlikely to find inner peace and let go of their inner rage until those who have done them wrong are forced out of hiding and held accountable for what they have done. Bock Kills Her Father is an enthralling piece of Fringe theatre that has a lot to say about society’s treatment of women.

Venue: La Mama Theatre, 205 Faraday Street, Carlton

Season: Until 27 September | Wed 6.30pm, Thurs-Sat 7:30pm, Sun 4:00pm

Tickets: $25 Full | $15 Conc

Bookings: Melbourne Fringe Festival


Stories of silence, speaking out and survival

By Myron My

There’s a strong sense of unease as I take my seat for Little Daughters. Having to walk through the seven motionless actors on the stage to get to my seat is quite eerie and almost intimidating. They are all dressed in black and with the stage bare and cloaked in black too, there is a dark mood that covers the room. The six men on stage stare intently at the sole woman: their eyes pierce through her skin as if they were daggers.

Little Daughters

It is never explicitly stated what happens to this woman (Annie Lumsden) but we get enough information to know that she is the victim of a sexual assault. The six men portray a doctor, boyfriend, friends and possible assailant. The one thing they all have in common though is their demand at controlling and handling the situation. While the men discuss the woman’s assault among them, they consistently talk at her when addressing the issue. The idea that she perhaps needs to forget about it and move on is thrown around, and there is an echo of doubt and frustration coming from them all, in particular the over-the-top portrayal of her doctor (Martin Can De Wouw), who is comically frightening in his assessment and treatment of Lumsden’s character.

Director Zachary Ruane delivers some great moments in his direction of Little Daughters: in particular, when having the men not only exit the stage at one point, but exit the room all together. Initially it’s down to Lumsden and Raymond Martini on stage. Again, while nothing is confirmed, you get the strong impression that his character is her assailant. It’s an ambiguously confronting moment that Ruane handles with great skill.

Ultimately it is once Martini leaves the room that Lumsden’s character can finally open up and speak freely about her experience and emotions. Sadly though, she can only feel like being honest when she is alone, when she is no longer being talked at or patronised or threatened by the men in her life. It’s a strange monologue but it shows the thought process and ideas that formulate in the mind of a survivor of sexual violence.

The reason it all feels so real and exposed is because playwright Annie Ferguson has based Little Daughters – her first full-length play – on her own personal experience with sexual violence. It’s an extremely brave piece that has been in formation for a number of years, that now generates the right amount of tension and exposition to slowly envelop us. Even though Lumsden’s character’s story is based on Ferguson’s experience, it could be anyone’s story, and we are all inside that story and we all need to start listening to survivors of sexual violence to bring that story to an end.

Venue: La Mama Theatre, 205 Faraday Street, Carlton
Season: Until 21 June | Wed 6:30pm, Thurs-Sat 7:30pm, Sun 4pm
Tickets: $25 Full | $15 Conc
Bookings: La Mama Theatre