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Picnic at Hanging Rock at Black Swan

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by Douglas Sutherland-Bruce (subscribe)
Douglas has been a professional food writer since 1986. He is also an award-winning actor and director in Community Theatre and has been for many years. His blog may be found at:
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Wright‘s adaptation of the classic novel is sure to perplex
It you were to ask nine out of ten Australians about Hanging Rock they would remember the movie and would swear that it was based on true events.

The truth is that Lady Lindsay wrote the book Picnic at Hanging Rock as a Gothic horror novel in 1967, presenting it as fact. Not the first author to do so (think George MacDonald Fraser's "Flashman Papers") but one of the most successful.

Joan á Beckett Weigall, later Lady Lindsay, was an artist, novelist, playwright and essayist. She married Daryl Lindsay, brother of Norman and Lionel Lindsay and with Picnic at Hanging Rock she entered the annals of Australian fame.

Picnic at Hanging Rock, Heath Ledger, Joan Lindsay, Tom Wright, Matthew Lutton
Director Matthew Lutton and the cast of Picnic at Hanging Rock (from left) Arielle Gray, Harriet Gordon-Anderson, Nikki Shiels, Elizabeth Nabben and Amber McMahon. (Photograph by Penny Stephens)

This wonderful novel, with its curiously ambivalent ending, is laid in the real world setting of Hanging Rock, all of which adds to the mystery. Published in 1967, the final chapter was only published after Lady Lindsay's death in the 1980s, some years after the 1975 film.

Picnic at Hanging Rock, Heath Ledger, Joan Lindsay, Tom Wright, Matthew Lutton
Still from the 1975 movie of Picnic at Hanging Rock (Photograph courtesy of depthsofcinema)

This is the novel that Tom Wright, a playwright and adapter has now adapted for the stage. It's currently showing in Melbourne but will be at the Heath Ledger Theatre in April.

Directed by Matthew Lutton, the play retains its mysticism and ambiguous fictionality. The cast includes Harriet Gordon-Anderson, Arielle Gray, Amber McMahon, Elizabeth Nabben, and Nikki Shiels.

The season runs from the 1st April to the 17th, with shows at various times. Tickets are available from the Ticketek website here.

Picnic at Hanging Rock, Heath Ledger, Joan Lindsay, Tom Wright, Matthew Lutton
Arielle Gray and Harriet Gordon-Anderson (Photograph by Robert Frith)

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Why? An Australian classic story now on stage
When: Various - see website
Where: Heath Ledger Theatre, State Theatre Centre, William Street, Perth
Cost: From
Your Comment
Just watched this last night. Very well performed, the cast did a wonderful job. Still didn't get me any closer to finding the solution of the mystery that is Picnic At Hanging Rock...time to read the book again! :)
by Gen Adams (score: 2|135) 1580 days ago
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