Melbourne Theatre Company’s ‘Jasper Jones’
- Anna Cordingley (Set & Costume Design)
- Melbourne Theatre Company
- Sam Strong (Direction)
- Matt Scott (Lighting Design)
- Darrin Verhagen (Sound Design)
Jasper Jones, the award-winning and quintessentially Australian novel by Craig Silvey, is here transformed for stage in an adaptation by Kate Mulvany and produced by the Melbourne Theatre Company. Cordingey’s set invokes the sun-bleached, dusty wheat-belt town of Corrigan in the summer of 1965 and caters for the unfurling of Silvey’s episodic story by constantly shifting the picture. The township is recreated in poetic scale, uncanny detail and a saccharine palette, complete with houses, cricket pitch, peach tree and weed-choked dam. All design elements echo the charming and haunting notes so celebrated in the novel and play.
A broad cyclorama delivers a cruelly hot sky; field stubble created with bamboo coir crunches underfoot, transporting audiences from metropolitan Melbourne to rural WA. A revolving central stage carries the entire community into view, innovatively enabling myriad scenes to follow. Performers hurtle within, around and on top of environments, inferring the playfulness and irreverence of youth. A gauze displaying the gothic silhouettes of wattles and gum, is counterpoint to the oppressive small-mindedness of Corrigan. It offers Charlie, Jasper and the audience moments of treasured escape. These design solutions are markedly imaginative and have had an extraordinary impact on Melbourne’s audiences.