The Chapel Perilous

Role: Set Design & Graphic Artist

Written by Dorothy Hewett

Directed by Tanya Dickson

Presented by Acting Company 2015 and Production Students as part of the VCA (Victorian College of the Arts) Contemporary Plays Season 2015.

Venue: Studio 45, VCA, Melbourne.

May, 2015

A note from the Director:

“I enjoy crafting plays that are anti ‘the system’, that have a complex female voice, that subvert or question hetronormative models, and that work outside the constraints of naturalism and embrace active manipulation of time, space and style. Dorothy Hewett’s The Chapel Perilous is all this and more. It has been thrilling to work on this piece with a body of students who have robustly and imaginatively brought this work from the page into the theatrical world.

The Chapel Perilous written by Dorothy Hewett follows the protagonist Sally Banner’s quest for selfhood; for freedom. Sally has been heralded as the first liberated feminist on the Australian stage. She reflects the time in which she was penned (1971), a time of both new found liberation and deep bigotry and repression.

I wanted to explore this under-produced Australian classic as I feel Sally Banner still speaks to us now, 44 years on she is still a heroine of liberation.

The question becomes how far have we come as a society? Do women still pay a high price for being heard? Do those who refuse to conform, who carve out an unconventional path, still suffer persecution?

Are we still at war? Are we will still governed by hypocritical authority figures, do we still silence/shame/blame/abuse women?

Most interestingly, as we crafted the work, we wanted to interrogate how we can bring Sally
to the ‘now’. How could we render her in a way in a way that is provocative and meaningful,
in a way that resonates with us as makers and connects with you, our audience? We were not interested in creating a ‘museum’ piece of theatre that the audience can distance themselves from. So we have reappropriated the setting and placed her in our time, our world – the ‘now’.”

Lighting Design by Kelsey Watt
Lighting Design by Kelsey Watt
The immersive audience seating arrangement which also housed the chorus
The immersive audience sidelines seating arrangement which also housed the chorus.
'Order in the court!
“Order in the court!” The three Sallys stand judged.
Photography by Jeff Busby

Costume Design by Jess Davie
Costume Design by Jess Davie
1:25 Scale model audience entry view
1:25 Scale model audience entry view
Scale model view from atop the 5 tiered arena style seating bank
Scale model view from atop the 5 tiered arena style seating bank

Chapel Perilous promotional image

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