1997 / 1998 Brisbane / Adelaide
In Salome the combination of dramatic form within a lyrical poetic framework draws the work into the arena of the fantastic. The myth blended with the symbolic create a heady mix. In this production this mix is recreated through a veil of sound and music. As in all Frank Theatre's work we are seeking a focussed and tight rendering of the play's words. The text here has been edited and adapted. As well, I have added some text from the Bible to draw attention to the struggle the protagonists undergo when the pagan world meets the emerging ideas of a new religion.
The expansive and theatrical imagination that Wilde brings to his telling of the story allows here for other layers to be added. All the people in the play respond to premonitions and omens. The music and the soundscape assist the action by creating a subliminal subtext.
The essence of the play is the triangular struggle between John the Baptist, Herod and Salome. Herod struggles with the conflict between his obsession with Salome and his superstitious fear and apprehension regarding John the Baptist and the new religion he preaches. John the Baptist holds to his unwavering commitment to God and the new Christ and Salome is overwhelmed by desire for sensual gratification at all costs. All these struggles spill over at the court of Herod and Herodias. The celebration of Herod's Feast Day becomes the battleground for the violent outcome where all the tensions of the protagonists finally explode and shatter.
The all-pervasive presence of the dance flows over the work. All move in a dreamlike or ritualistic manner. Physical tensions are first expressed in the body. The dance holds all in its grip, and, in a play renowned for the central theme of Herod's continual plea 'Dance for me, Salome', it is fitting that the dance and strong movement structures should hold a powerful position in the stage arena.
We at Frank Theatre are seeking to develop, through our rigorous ensemble training in the Suzuki Actor Training Method and our physical explorations, a new classicism. To re-explore the great stories of the world and present them, fresh and re-invigorated through our exclusive creative process.
'Therefore Herodias had a quarrel against John the Baptist and would have killed him but she could not. For Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just man and an holy, and observed him......' (New Testament, Mark 6 Verses 19 & 20)
"Carroll and her design team have given the play a stark simplicity…[that] allows the voice to reign supreme. And what voices! The cast has been trained to classic theatrical vocalisation, deep and rich from the diaphragm, extracting every nuance from the boom to the whisper…
Sleek symmetry, commentary on mood and message, sculptural bodies…they offer another dimension on an exceedingly well-crafted and compact production…such a powerful and beautiful production should be seen by all. It leaves Berkoff for dead."
The Adelaide Advertiser 1998
"…visually compelling theatre…Lisa O'Neill's Dance of the Seven Veils minus the veils is a brilliantly executed piece of satire"
The Sunday Mail 1997
"…While powerfully sexual, O'Neill is sinister and weirdly inhuman; Lolita with attitude. A bond-girl clone turned dominatrix …Salome is a forceful extension of Frank Productions' commitment to interpreting classical texts."
The Australian 1997
"…[A] fresh and satisfying approach to a Wilde Classic"
Portside (Adelaide) 1998