On the Edge: Madeleine - screener

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On the Edge: Madeleine

Year: 2010, 77 mins
Code: JK-Madel
ISBN: 978-1-921882-10-4

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Madeleine is an exploration of schizophrenia and it’s effect on a young woman and her family. It is the second in a cycle of new works, by Black Sequin Productions, exploring mental illness. The first was Kitten – a bi polar soap opera, premiered at the Melbourne International Festival for the Arts in 2008.

"Mental illness is complex and multifaceted – those with mental illness are struggling to live within a world that is constructed by and for the ‘sane’. It is as if they are living at times in two worlds in collision. Yet the ‘sane’ too can feel ‘split’ at times fragmented and as if ‘in collision’.  The fascinating thing about the mentally ill is that they often live in a world that has complete and complex logic of it’s own. The logic may be lateral but it can sometimes make a lot of sense, creating an uncannily accurate look into the absurdity the everyday world, which we call ‘sane’. By coming to know the world of the ‘insane’ more perhaps we can become more aware also of the ‘unknown’ within ourselves as well as others " Jenny Kemp

Jenny Kemp has been recognised as one of Melbourne's most innovative directors and writers for more than two decades. She has been associated with the Australian Performing Group and the groundbreaking Stasis Group and has directed in Melbourne, Sydney and South Australia. Kemp occupies unique theatrical territory. A writer and director of exceptional vision, she mines the unconscious for images and tales that defy conventional narrative.

Black Sequin Productions creates performance works, that investigate the human psyche and it’s ability to function creatively in a contemporary world. ‘...as you walk down the street you see the real world but feel aware of an inner world..’ Black Sequin Productions attempt a dialogue with this disjunction. Our intention is to liberate the audience from the usual constraints of linear time and provoke an imaginative and associative engagement with image, action, text and sound.

Previous Black Sequin Productions:
Kitten, (Melbourne International Festival of the Arts),
Still Angela, (Playbox Theatre & National Tour / Mobile States),
The Black Sequin Dress (Adelaide Festival, Playbox, Belvoir St.),
Remember (Gasworks) and
Call of the Wild (Spoleto Festival). Goodnight Sweet Dreams (Anthill).

"Madeleine, generates a complex poetry that hovers above bathos, immersing the audience in an empathic and bold ode to psychosis. It should be said that schizophrenia is never mentioned. It doesn’t need to be, it’s so convincingly shown. Madeleine is ambitious theatre. Trying to understand schizophrenia, much less invent a theatrical language that expresses it with such subtle clarity, is a challenge. Kemp has succeeded wonderfully. The performances are beautiful and frightening, drawing on the tradition of the dream play."  Cameron Woodhead The Age – Saturday August 7, 2010

Madeleine compels us to enter an unfamiliar state of consciousness. This is achieved with a lean, fable like narrative, stark shifts between two worlds (the real and the schizophrenic’s fantasy), the distressful overlapping of these, a breathtaking central performance and, not least, Kemp and her designers’ scenographic virtuosity……. The totality of conception and the potent imagery of its realisation make Jenny Kemp’s account of the power of a deeply thwarted and flawed imagination chillingly memorable. It should be seen more widely. Keith Gallasch - RealTime 99 October/November 2010.

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