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Death by Elegy by Emotionworks Opera Company

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by Jennifer (subscribe)
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Death by Elegy, a new musical play presented by Emotionworks Productions and written by Melbourne author Dick Gross, explores the human response to death, mortality and the afterlife in an emotive, unusual and entertaining way.

DeathbyElegy, Musical Play, Emotionworks, Dick Gross
Death by Elegy

The play, directed by Julie Edwardson, opens with the funeral of Harry's wife. His daughter Gracie (Kat Pshenichner), inconsolable, tells him "I wish it was you in that box". Then follows a desperate attempt by Harry (Richard Woods) to reconnect with his daughter during this period of grief. Harry is even more distressed as he is dying. Unaware of her father's illness, Gracie finds comfort in texting her now-Ex boyfriend Jake (Ed Harcourt) via social media.

Through an analysis of Thomas Gray's poem "Elegy written in a Country Churchyard" completed in the 1700s and with the help of Dorothy Gray's ghost (Annemarie Sharry), Thomas' mum who died 250 years ago, Harry and Gracie will be able to strengthen their father and daughter relationship while discussing death and the afterlife. The play is structured as a series of conversations which are punctuated by funerals where Fauré's, Mozart's and Verdi's requiems are sung by a quartet comprised of soprano Julia Harper, contralto Alison Lemoh, tenor Ed Harcourt and bass Wayne Cuebas.

DeathbyElegy, Musical Play, Emotionworks, Dick Gross
Death by Elegy

Death by Elegy turned out to be a delightful surprise where tragic matters such as death and a belief in the afterlife are considered in an innovative, vulnerable and refreshing way. Who would have thought that a play about death could be so funny? Gracie's irony, coupled with Dorothy's lack of acculturation to the modern world offer an amusing contrast to Harry's vital quest for answers about the afterlife. The actors performed outstandingly and showed great command of acting skills such as body language, mannerisms, facial expressions, tone of voice and accents. The chemistry between the actors and especially the one between Harry and Gracie contributed in portraying this father-daughter relationship as a realistic one and as such making it extremely touching and relatable.

In line with Emotionworks' tradition of using specially adapted venues, the play is being performed at St Kilda Uniting Church. The unconventional theatre space is very apt to the play and the director made very good use of it. The audience was somehow part of the play as the cast and the quartet moved along the aisles. An eerie atmosphere was created by a multitude of tea candles arranged around the stage.

Death by Elegy is a play not-to-be missed and will appeal to a wide variety of audiences. The next performances are as follows:

September 19 and 20 at 8.30pm
September 21 at 3.30pm

Book your tickets on:

For more information about the production, please visit
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Why? A quirky and delightful musical play
When: 12-21 September 2014
Phone: 0408 687 305
Where: St Kilda Uniting Church
Cost: $30/$35
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