Photo – Phil Erbacher

Art imitating life or art imitating art?

In Emily Sheehan’s Frame Narrative, the act and the art of creation is examined, from conception to manipulation.

The play takes its title from the term that defines a story in which another story is enclosed or embedded as a ‘tale within the tale’, or which contains several such tales. The other story in Frame Narrative channels Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.

The play is layer upon layer, an adaptation, or rather, an interpretation of Frankenstein as presented first as a play, then revealed as a film production.   

The narrative then plunges the audience into the behind the scenes fly on the wall dynamics of the cast, the jealousies and insecurities, the tectonic shifts of artistic temperaments.

Megan O’Connell plays a former Scream Queen, making a comeback after a fourteen year maternity leave from the movies. She is cast opposite a rising star played by Madeline Li. Competition and conflicting work ethics fuel murderous confrontation.

Jennifer Rani as the film’s director endeavours to keep the production rolling, juggling egos and schedules, delicately drawing out performances from her embattled stars.

As the production’s only male, Charles Upton’s supporting actor blithely oscillates from fuelling the feud to quenching the conflagration.

The frame narrative conceit then takes a dazzling new turn, presenting the playwright, played by Emma Wright, commenting on her creation and the direction it is being taken.

Have they taken her potential masterpiece and turned it into a monster?

Directed by Lucy Clements, Frame Narrative is a provocative inquiry into  authorship, adaptation and collaboration. In the theatre, as in film, the final result is an amalgam of talents of which the writer is the progenitor not the final arbiter. The play’s denouement discusses this with vigour.

Special kudos to set designer Soham Apte. His proscenium arch concept in this space creates an illusion of heavy wood lined Gothic drawing room and the allusion of a quickly convertible film set. It beautifully frames the narrative.

Event details

New Ghosts Theatre Company presents
Frame Narrative
by Emily Sheehan

Director Lucy Clements

Venue: The Old Fitz Theatre | 129 Dowling Street, Woolloomooloo NSW
Dates: 8 – 30 March 2024
Tickets: $75 – $35

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