Listening to the description and frank discussion by director Steve Jodrell and writer Bill McCluskey of how they have ‘re-imagined’ Tim Winton‘s The Turning was definitely a well spent hour. I’m pleased that I had the opportunity to attend this Friends of the Festival event.
Barry Strickland facilitated the discussion after a short introduction by Diana Warnock.
Commissioned by the Perth International Arts Festival, the project has the rights to 12 of the 17 short stories in Winton’s book that follows three generations of the Lang family from the 70’s to the present.
Jodrell described the technical challenges such as combining film and theatre in a way that they augment each other rather than one being a background for the other. Fortunately, we were in the upper stalls of the theatre and were able to see the design of the sets as described.
McCluskey explained the genesis of the project, which began with him reading the book while in Broome. The play is ‘re-imagined’ as to bring the narrative to life on the stage. Some characters have been broadened, and some new characters are introduced. There is also the difficulty of a small cast of nine representing a larger number of characters (25 in the production?) that also allowed the actors to explore the relationships, similarities, and differences between the various characters.
It certainly will be interesting to see how the visuals are combined with the drama in the adaption and transitioning of the short stories.
I have not yet read the book, but being a fan of Tim Winton I know that I will enjoy both the book and the play. Although, I understand from some reviews that it is not a beach novel, but “one to definitely put on your list of things to read”. What I like best about Winton’s novels is that they are set in Western Australia. It is sometimes good to have a sense of familiarity with the landscape albeit seeing it through different eyes and times.
The Turning is showing 20 Feb to 8 Mar as part of the Perth International Arts Festival. At the talk, they said tickets are selling well so don’t leave getting yours until it is too late.