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Orphans ventures into nightmare territory


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Bluefruit Theatre’s upcoming production, Orphans, is a psychological thriller that tells a very dark tale of family, crime, violence and fear.

Written by British playwright Dennis Kelly, the play sees the peaceful life of Danny (played by Charles Mayer) and his pregnant wife Helen (Anna Cheney) shattered when Helen’s brother, Liam (Sam Calleja), arrives covered in someone else’s blood.

“If the crime in Orphans had actually taken place on our streets it would have been all over the news and made front-page headlines,” says Shona Benson, the show’s director and producer.

“Debates would have followed, on TV and at school gates, as to how we must make our streets safer and how we need to protect ourselves from crime.

“I hope that Orphans will evoke similar emotions and passions as if the horrific event talked about on stage had happened in real life.”

Revealing further plot details would destroy the suspense of the performance, but the production notes say it explores the conflict between blood ties and moral responsibility, touching on issues such as violent crime, racism and stranger danger.

Benson, the founder of Bluefruit, describes it as “a brilliant piece of theatre”.

She hopes that Kelly’s play, which debuted in August 2009 in Edinburgh, will resonate with Adelaide audiences.

“When people come out of the play, I want to leave them with a feeling of hope.”

Bluefruit Theatre has collaborated with charity workers, young offenders and psychologists to create the production, which Benson says has helped the cast understand that they are telling real stories. An art and poetry exhibition in the foyer of the Bakehouse Theatre, where Orphans will play, also seeks to give an insight into the “hearts and minds” of young offenders.

Profits from the production and a VIP “blue carpet” event will be donated to Adelaide not-for-profit organisation Time for Kids.

“We want to showcase the great work they are doing; they support families and children from disadvantaged backgrounds, some in similar situations to those highlighted through the play,” Benson says.

“Through the strong link with Time for Kids and the art work on display from young people who have offended, I hope that constructive discussion will start amongst audience members in the foyer, and ideas about how to make our communities safer and stronger can be debated and considered.”

Orphans officially opens at Bakehouse Theatre, in Angas Street, on November 9 with previews from November 7 and the VIP Blue Carpet event on November 8. 



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