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‘Minnie' and ‘The Game’

The Armidale Playhouse – April 1998

In conjunction with UNE Theatre Studies


Directed by Janine Bendit

Adapted from the play by Barry Dickins. By special arrangement with the author.


It is Minnie's 40th birthday. She is alone in her room, fifteen feet by ten feet. Eccentric, sad, reminiscent, hopeful, full of life and death. How do these aspects of her life reflect within her inner self?

What thoughts occur when one feels totally alone in the world of the living? Does Minnie's Jewish heritage influence her feelings of isolation? I do not propose to find answers in this short piece but I am grateful to the questions raised.

Minnie has been adapted from Barry Dickins' monologue The Death of Minne. Set in Melbourne, Minnie plays, explores and feels - certainly not for the first time but perhaps the last. This production has been a tool in exploring many angles of what is internalised in one persons mind and rarely exposed.

This production has evolved from a strong collaboration with cast and crew. We have explored what I see as an important part of theatre: what actors can create without realistic props. We decided to throw away most of the physical props and bring out the true nature of storytelling. I am greatly indebted to my wonderfully creative and courageous actors from whom I have learnt so much, and to the support of my crew.


Minnie: Sue Fell
Minnie: Martin Mantle
Minnie: Ruth Thompson


Director: Janine Bendit
Stage Manager: Skye Mack
Assistant Stage Managers: Marshall Dalton, Dean Havard
Lighting Design: Nadia Ozanne
Lighting Operator: Tanya Lawler
Sound: Craig McMurray

The Game

Directed by  Louise Morley

By Louise Morley. By special arrangement with the author.

Director's Note

Death seemed an appropriate alternative to the misery of life as a convict at Port Arthur, Van Diemen's Land. After being driven to crime by appalling social conditions in their homeland and harshly sentenced, they were then packed like sardines in the hold of a ship, only to be thrown into the arms of Governor Arthur, known as the 'iron hand'. Prisoners worked twelve - to thirteen - hour days, fuelled by one pound of bread, one ounce of sugar and one ounce of roasted wheat or coffee. Those that did not 'go quietly' were sent to the Separation Prison to be 'broken', which meant being locked up in
complete isolation, darkness and silence. A mental asylum was purpose-built
next door.

The Game is based on historical evidence (courtesy of the Port Arthur Historical Society) which suggests that inmates at Port Arthur actually played 'the game' to escape their misery. Shuttleworth, Creeby and Neptune are ghosts from Australia's dim, dark convict history - a history which has largely forgotten the suffering of the individual at the mercy of British Imperialism. The walls of the local hotel at Port Arthur are decorated with murals of fat, happy prisoners portrayed as if they are glad to be oppressed; the souvenir shop sells convict dolls, jail keys, plastic rats and ball-and-chain sets - a
stark contrast to the 'bloody red reality'.

I began workshopping the script with the cast in July 1997 for a performance in October of that year. With further exploration of the script for this current production, each cast member has brought more ideas with which to "play". The result of this, I believe, is a further development of the characters and their story. My thanks to all the cast and crew for their creative input. It has again been a wonderful experience to work with so many talented people. A special thanks to Kyas who has given so much at such short notice.


Neptune: Brendan Pascoe
Shuttleworth: Lynn Everett
Creeby: Kylie Klumpp
Arthur/Red Coat 1: Kyas Sherriff
Sarah/Red Coat 2: Mary Buck


Director: Louise Morley
Stage Manager: Skye Mack
Assistant Stage Managers: Marshall Dalton, Dean Havard
Lighting Design: Nadia Ozanne
Lighting Operator: Tanya Lawler
Costume: Elizabeth Minich, Gerry de Gabrielle
Musicians: John Deery (Uilleann Pipes and Low Whistle), Margie Bowen (Fiddle)
Music: Arranged by John Deery, Margie Bowen
Sound: Al Heeney
Production Manager: Peter O'Donohue

You came to this country in fetters and chains,
Outlaws and rebels with numbers for names,
And on the triangle were beaten and maimed,
Blood stained the soils of Australia - Alistair Hulett

We envied the poor fellow's fortune. Death brought reprieve
for his woes and snatched him from the iron-hearted tyrants that were fattening on our toil and blood and our very hearts' agony – William Gates, a convict at Port Arthur

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