Saturday, February 7, 2009, will be a day etched in the minds of all Australians. In the midst of a long running drought, winds of over 100 km/h and temperatures in the mid 40s placed Victoria in an almost perfect storm of bush fire conditions. The extreme weather conditions culminated in over 400 fires being fought by 3,582 firefighter. The aftermath included over a million acres burnt, entire towns destroyed, 500 injuries and 173 deaths — the highest ever loss of life from a bushfire in Australia.
The Day the Sky Turned Black is a one women show following five characters through the events surrounding that day. Based on interviews with survivors, journalists and a global arson expert, the play travels from before the fires through the events of the day to the inevitable returning home and starting to rebuild.
Staring, written and conceived by Ali Kennedy-Scott, a 2009 Graduate from Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, the play was motivated by the reaction Ali felt around her at the time. Ranging from concern to criticism, and even apathy. The Day the Sky Turned Black is to set the record straight and tell the true story of these extraordinary ‘ordinary’ Australians.
The show is directed by Adrian Barnes, with original music by Pat Wilson, and has enjoyed tremendous success in both Australia and around the world. After triumphant seasons at the Adelaide Fringe Festival (‘a superior show – so very gripping’ Adelaide Advertiser) and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, receiving 5 stars from the Scottish Daily Express, Ali Kennedy-Scott was invited to perform in New York as part of the 2011 Fringe Festival.
The show received fantastic reviews and has now transferred to the The Soho Playhouse, Off Broadway, for an encore season, before they return to Australia to take part in the Sydney Fringe Festival.
“Ali Kennedy-Scott is a whirlwind, an irrepressible bundle of energy, spine and spirit.”“Ms. Kennedy-Scott’s transformations are quick and the situations are vivid.Most important, her portrayals are heartfelt: in them we see not just a hardy, exuberant and resourceful peoplebut also a proud compatriot who appears to embody the very same qualities.”“…it’s clear that there is no one more suited to have conceived and presented it.”The New York Times
“A young performer, Scott…effectively conveys the experience and implications of this disaster.” The Village Voice
“A FringeNYC must-see show. She convincingly creates five characters whose stories pre, during, and post Australia’s 2009 “Black Saturday” share how a variety of people cope with and understand disaster in their lives and in their communities. Skilfully directed by Adrian Barnes with appropriate original music by Pat Wilson. See this show before it goes away.”Theatre Reviews Limited.
The Day the Sky Turned Black: - Website.
New York:Thursday September 1st @ 8pm Sunday September 4th @ 3pmMonday September 5th @ 8pm
The Soho Playhouse.
Sydney Fringe Festival:Sep 15, 7:30pmSep 16 – 17, 8:30pmSep 20, 8:30pmSep 24, 3:30pmSep 25, 5:00pm The Newtown Theatre.
Triumph for Aussie play in New York
Topics Mentioned:Adrian Barnes, Ali Keneddy-Scott, fringe festival, Matt Edwards, New York, Pat Wilson, sydney fringe