Roslyn Oades’ 2014 Malthouse Theatre and Melbourne Festival hit Hello, Goodbye & Happy Birthday celebrates two milestone birthdays – eighteen and eighty – major transition points of adult life. One represents untold potential; the other, the accumulation of a lifetime of experiences – the aspirations, fears and memories. Scripted from intimate real-life conversations with people either side of these milestones, Hello, Goodbye & Happy Birthday is the powerful new work from Roslyn Oades & Collaborators.
Playful and affecting in equal measure, this show sees Oades continue her ground-breaking ‘headphone verbatim’ documentary theatre technique, to create extraordinarily immediate and vivid performances.
The production was inspired by Oades attending an 80th birthday party and shortly after an 18th, “It occurred to me during the birthday speeches that the former felt eerily like a farewell party and the latter a ‘Hello world! Here I come’ type of event. The juxtaposition of these two celebrations started me thinking about entrances and exits into adulthood and I guess into life itself…. Concepts of the familiar and the unknown; experience and innocence; an opportunity to explore the bookends of a life fully lived.”
The source material for this project is the result of extensive interviews with community members aged 80 and over followed by a similar process with participants aged 18 years.
Immersed in the institutional environments of nursing homes and high schools – this work explores the threshold from child into adulthood, as well as, from self-sufficient adult into aged care dependency. Both sets of age groups were asked to respond to a parallel series of questions, drawing direct links between these divergent experiences of adult life: How does it feel to be at the very start or the very end of life’s journey? And what can we learn from comparing these perspectives?
Sections from the recordings with the 80 people interviewed form the audio-script of the play. “Rather than reciting memorised lines, the actors wear headphones and speak aloud a sequence of carefully edited audio interviews word-for-word as they are played to them,” Oades said. “By confining the actors to the discipline of accompanying a recording with absolute precision (including every inflection, cough, stumble, breath and overlap), a curious, hyper-real performance style is established.”
In the resulting production audiences are offered a rare opportunity to eavesdrop on the conversations of those grappling with how to say goodbye; and those trying to work out where to begin.
Winner of a Green Room Award for Outstanding Writing, and nominated for five Green Rooms, an Australian Writers’ Guild Award and the NSW Premier’s Award, Hello Goodbye & Happy Birthday is “one of the most charming shows of the year…a truly celebratory glimpse of the vitality and resistance of two groups of people often marginalised or portrayed in ageist stereotypes.”
“One of the most charming shows of the year” ABC Arts
Dates & Times:
Thursday 27th July 7.30pm
Friday 28th July 11am (Plus Q&A) and 7.30pm
Saturday 29th July 2.15pm and 7.30pm
*please note the 11am show is a schools and GP performance. Patrons will be seated around the school groups.
A Performing Lines tour for Road Work. This tour was supported by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body; and the Victorian Government through Creative Victoria. Originally produced by Malthouse Theatre & Melbourne Festival.
Cast: Jim Daly, Evelyn Krape, Aileen Huynh, Roger Oakley, Izabella Yena
Direction/Audio-script: Roslyn Oades
Movement Director: Nat Cursio
Sound Design: Bob Scott & Russell Goldsmith
Lighting Design: Paul Jackson
Set/Costume Design: Christina Hayes
Audio-script editing: Roslyn Oades & Bob Scott
Script Dramaturge: Raimondo Cortese
Additional dramaturgy: Bob Scott, Nat Cursio, Paul Jackson & Yana Taylor
Interviews: Roslyn Oades
Interview assistance/Community photos: Piper Huynh
Production Stills: Jeff Busby
Community Consultants: Paul Brophy at Sambell Lodge, Kirsty Baird at City of Yarra & Piper Huynh
Originally produced by Malthouse Theatre & Melbourne Festival
A Performing Lines tour for Road Work
Suitable for Years 9 – 12
SCHOOL TICKETS $22 per student/additional teacher (1 teacher free per 20 students)
FROM THE PROGRAM COORDINATOR…
Bankstown’s best theatrical export, if you don’t know about Roslyn Oades
methodology look it up! Headphones with interviewees directly speaking into the ears of the actors
gives an eerie realism unlike anything else. This is VERBATIM THEATRE at its absolute best. Through
charming, very funny and incredibly poignant dialogue the piece addresses the transitions of
entering and exiting adulthood, so provides a fantastic discussion that brilliantly compliments
outcomes within Drama and English units.
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2014 WINNER | GREEN ROOM AWARD: Outstanding Writing/Adaptation for the Australian Stage
2014 NOMINEE | GREEN ROOM AWARD: Outstanding Production
2014 NOMINEE | GREEN ROOM AWARD: Outstanding Direction
2014 NOMINEE | GREEN ROOM AWARD: Outstanding Ensemble Performance
2015 SHORTLISTED | Australian Writers Guild Award
2016 SHORTLISTED | NSW Premier’s Award (Nick Enright Playwrights Award)
“one of the most charming shows of the year. Hello, Goodbye, Happy Birthday is a truly celebratory glimpse of the vitality and resistance of two groups of people often marginalised or portrayed in ageist stereotypes.” ABC Arts
“Oades’ deftly executed approach circumvents the risk of racial parody inherent in cross-cultural material, aided by faultless performances.” The Age
“What we hear and see is a collision of realities, a juxtaposition of the 18 year-olds’ ebullient, puppy-like youthfulness against the 80 year-olds’ lack of energy and more sedentary, introspective lives.” Herald Sun
“Hello, Goodbye & Happy Birthday is an extraordinarily powerful piece of theatre, both playful and sad; it vividly captures the peaks and troughs of life from many facets of society, the young, the older and the many immigrants that we share our lives with. In the end, as diverse as we all are, the similarities are evident in the way we lead our lives in the pursuit of happiness and love.”(5 stars) Melbourne. Arts. Fashion.
“Hello, Goodbye and Happy Birthday reflects back upon the audience a kaleidoscopic set of attitudes to age; to confound, amuse and delight.” Arts Hub
“audio documentary rendered as magnificent verbatim theatre…infused with a terrific sense of life rarely felt in a theatre.” RealTime Arts Magazine
“The work is utterly heart-warming, and often hilarious, and in its depiction of a man whose wife has slid into dementia — captured with exceptional sensitivity and skill by Matthew Connell — it harbours the kind of heart-rending depth that’s hard to find on any Melbourne mainstage.” Concrete Playground
“They’re voices from all over the globe, between the ages of 16 and 95. They do it brilliantly. Delightfully. Perhaps none better than Jim Daly, who snaps from 18-year-old birthday girl, standing on a chair giving a schmaltzy speech, to wheelchair bound 80-year-old depressing the hell out of his party guests. There’s a wonderful twinkle in his eye in these scenes.” The Australian