Gravestones can tell stories. Behind the names and dates lie the tales of lives that may have been tragic, poignant or even uplifting.
At While Hills Cemetery an upcoming collaboration between sculptor Eliza-Jane Gilchrist and writer and actor Mark Penzak will explore the stories behind the stones.
For Mr Penzak the idea that stories of the dead are a gateway to living better today is key to the performance Once And For All.
“Given that it is inevitable, I think contemplating death makes you consider a bit more carefully what is important to you,” he said.
“It encourages you to get along with people a bit more.”
The event will begin with a tour of the cemetery, telling the stories behind notable graves and monuments.
One example is that of sculptor John Williams, who traveled to London and Paris to study and was feted before the Great Depression hit, making work scarce. So Mr Williams moved into keeping poultry, where he won awards.
“I like that idea, sort of just making the best of it,” Mr Penzak said.
“Once you accept what’s gong to happen… you value the day more.”
The event trials of a form of theatre where visuals tells as much of the story as the words. It’s not a classic play, rather collaborators are trying to bring their audience into the atmosphere of the cemetery.
“It’s a hybrid. It’s partially a tour of the cemetery, it’s partially a sculpture installation and it’s partially a performance,” Mr Penzak said.
“We’re trying to give people a thing to contemplate death and our own mortality, but it’s not meant to be heavy.”
Performances will take place on November 30, December 1 and December 2.
More information at: suchastheyare.com.au/once-and-for-all.html
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