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The Black Sequin Dress

18-minute edited film version - by Jenny Kemp

Year: 2021, 2012, 18 mins
Code: JK-BlackSequin

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18-minute 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.

Related titles:
Interview with Jane McDermott & Jenny Kemp about The Black Sequin Dress

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).


‘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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