New Australian Play THIS IS EDEN Turns Our Nations History On Its Head

Following its critically acclaimed debut season at HotHouse Theatre, new Australian play, This is Eden written and performed by Emily Goddard and directed by Susie Dee makes its Melbourne premiere at fortyfivedownstairs from 27 April to 7 May 2017 for a strictly limited season.

A chance discovery of a previously unknown convict ancestor (Emily Goddard's great-great-great Grandmother) and the hardships she endured during her 7-year sentence in the Cascades Female Factory in Hobart Town during the 1830's 1840's, was the seed of inspiration for acclaimed performer and theatre maker Emily Goddard's dark, humorous and provocative 'antibonnet' drama about the rebellion and resistance of the female convicts of Van Diemen's Land.

Set in 1839, in a solitary cell, on the edge of survival, a 'sleek little savage' waits alone in the darkness. Ankle deep in mud she plots her escape and reveals, with biting mockery, the untold tales of her captors. Using the French clowning technique of Bouffon (learnt by both Goddard and Dee with Philippe Gaulier), where outcasts ridicule and provoke those in power, Goddard and one of Melbourne's most revered directors Susie Dee, tread a fine line between the grotesque and charming to bring to life an extraordinary story of rebellion and survival that has seemingly escaped our nation's history lesson.

Cascades Female Factory in Hobart Town was a place of hard labour, overcrowding and shockingly high rates of infant mortality. The factory was the first port of call for 5,000 of the 25,000 female prisoners sent to Van Diemen's Land before their placement into 'service' with the colony's free settlers. The plight of these displaced women, who for the rest of their lives bore the shame of their 'stain' in a society strictly divided into free and convict classes, resonated with Goddard who found strong parallels with modern Australia's hardened attitude to asylum seekers. With 1 in 7 Australians having convict ancestry, has the oppressed become oppressor?

Using the same devices, the convict women used to entertain and rebel, This is Eden explores and exposes these links with contemporary attitudes and hypocrisy with subtlety and humour. Current and cruel, This is Eden is at once an examination of our dark past, a parody of the way we perceive it, and a call to arms to contemporary Australia.

Writer & Performer: Emily Goddard, Director: Susie Dee, Dramaturgy: Mark Wilson, Set & Costume Designer: Romanie Harper, Sound Design & Composition: Ian Moorhead and Lighting Designer: Gina Gascoigne.

Developed with the support of HotHouse Theatre 2015, Creative Victoria and The Australia Council.

This year's most exhilarating independent production not to be missed!

Tickets are $25 -$35. For bookings, call 03 9662 9966 or visit fortyfivedownstairs.com.

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