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Drama / Theatre > Performance Contemporary

Jenny Kemp: The Black Sequin Dress, Remember

Black Sequin (Productions)

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Jenny Kemp: The Black Sequin Dress, Remember


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Black Sequin Productions investigate the psyche and its ability to function creatively in the contemporary world. We inhabit the ‘everyday’ world but carry within ourselves an extensive ‘inner world’. The work is about the relationship between the inner and outer realities, about their dynamic and about the potential of their interaction. ‘haunting, witty, tightly written and distinctive theatre’ Steven Carroll, The Age.

The Black Sequin Dress
18 minutes edited film version of the premiere production as seen in 1996 Adelaide Festival. (approx 75 mins)

The Black Sequin Dress is an investigation into the psyche and its ability to function creatively. A woman in a black sequin dress leaves the children for the evening and goes to a nightclub. The play begins. The woman arrives at the nightclub. She walks across the shiny floor. In a moment of indecision she glances back, slips and falls. We watch as memory, desire, dream, fantasy and myth serve to animate the descent into the underworld and her subsequent ascent.

18 minutes edited film version of the premiere production as seen in 1993 at Gasworks Theatre Melbourne (approx 75 mins).

A young woman has been raped and believes she has killed her assailant. Remember follows her journey of recovery as she lies in a hospital bed. We watch as memory, dream, imagination and courage work to heal her damaged self. Remember confronts what has happened not by focusing on the social/legal implications of the act but by looking at what happens inside the woman herself when she is left alone after the event.

Interview with Jane McDermott & Jenny Kemp about the making of The Black Sequin Dress. A rare insight in the creative process of directing, this is a 9 minute documentary filmed during the rehearsal of The Black Sequin Dress. It includes rehearsal and production footage and an interview with actor Margaret Mills as well as the director/writer Jenny Kemp. Footage from Imagine Copyright 1996 SBS Corporation courtesy SBS International. 9 mins.


Jenny Kemp is Writer and Artistic Director of Black Sequin Productions. Over the last two decades she has created a distinctive body of work with Black Sequin Productions, including Madeleine (Arts House), Kitten, (Melbourne International Festival of the Arts), Still Angela, (Playbox Theatre & National Tour/Mobile States), The Black Sequin Dress (Adelaide Festival, Canberra Theatre, Malthouse) Remember, and Call of the Wild (Spoleto Festival, Belvoir St). Goodnight Sweet Dreams (Anthill). She has been the recipient of an Australia Council Theatre Fellowship, The Kenneth Myer Medallion for Performing Arts and Greenroom awards for both Direction and her collaborative work in Dance. Jenny has been an Honorary Research Associate at Monash University and frequently conducts workshops throughout Australia in writing. She lectures in Post Graduate Directing, at the Victorian College of the Arts and Music. And has also worked as a freelance director at Malthouse Theatre, Playbox, Melbourne Theatre Company, STSA, Performance Space, Belvoir St. The Mill, The APG and the VCA.

Scripts: Full Copies of all Scripts by Jenny Kemp are available from Australian Plays

Cast & Creative Team of the film "Black Sequin Dress Cast: Margaret Mills, Natasha Herbert, Mary Sitarenos, Helen Herbertson, Ian Scott, Greg Stone (with Romanie Harper as the girl’s voice). Writer/Director: Jenny Kemp. Composer: Elizabeth Drake. Designer: Jacqueline Everitt. Lighting Designer: Ben Cobham. Choreography: Jenny Kemp, Helen Herbertson. Film Maker: Cassandra Tyler. Camera: Jesse Little Doring. Musicians: Binneas String Quartet (Jeremy Cook, Judy Pile, Danny Simcic, Jamie Southall).

Cast & Creative Team of the film "Remember" Cast: Margaret Cameron, Robert Menzies, Margaret Mills, Merfyn Owen, Ruth Shoenheimer. Writer/Director: Jenny Kemp. Music Composer/Director: Dalmazio Umberto Babare. Designer: Jacqueline Everitt.

‘a strong and sophisticated piece of theatre..... one of the richest and most contemplative performances seen in the Merlyn Theatre for some time, and one that further demonstrates director and playwright Jenny Kemp’s abilities to work well with a gifted and creative team’. Tom Wright Herald Sun.

‘Her theatrical collages of visual imagery and sound-scapes communicate an impression of sensory realms, which flow around each other, inviting the inner responses of the spectators’. Peta Tait. Converging realities.

“This is not ordinary entertainment, but rather an extraordinary twist in modern recognizably Australian drama which you should not miss.” Frank McClone The Canberra Times 11/4/1996.

“Her arm goes down, her knees bend and she keels over, she faints off the edge of the earth, she falls out of the dead landscape…. There ensues a seemingly endless series of meditations upon that fall and all that it may mean. Meditations folded layer upon layer, text interlaced with visual image, the elements of the landscape carefully orchestrated, with Elizabeth Drake’s score providing the dynamic of ‘irrigous uncertainty’. Against the ground of Jacqui Everitt’s formal, slightly surreal nightclub, the psyche (decentered through four actresses) slips through the spaces in-between and ‘adventures’ underground. The image journey of death is present in the ever arriving train. Figures of myth and fantasy are encountered in the jungle of the soul.” Richard Murphet Real Time. March 1996.


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