The Death of Kings – benefit play reading

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A little while ago, Living Positive Victoria was approached by a talented group based in NSW who wanted to bring their work to Melbourne. Colette F. Keen, Adam Deusien and Fiona Green previously staged the work in Sydney and felt strongly that it should be shown in Melbourne. This performance is dedicated to the memory of Malcolm Leech, who for many years was President of Positive Life NSW.

The Death of Kings is a verbatim piece on Sydney in the early 80s and the HIV/AIDS crisis. Drawing on laughter and tears the play focuses on the experience of young gay men and the response to the epidemic by the gay community, the toll of being surrounded by constant death, stories of survival, survivor guilt and the nobility of the individuals facing the devastation of their community.

The Death of Kings is a verbatim documentary theatre work that is part of an arts informed narrative inquiry for a PhD (Theatre & Performance) at Monash University titled Seeking Dorothy: In the Land of OZ. The title of the play is drawn from Shakespeare’s Richard II and the lines “let’s sit upon the ground and talk of the death of kings”.

The play is built on interviews that took place between January and December 2012. All those interviewed were gay men who experienced the epidemic, in Sydney, during the 1980s. Individuals were asked the same set of questions and the interviews are used verbatim. Each sentence is intact and as it was spoken by the individual. This work is the second collaboration between playwright Colette F. Keen and director Adam Deusien.

Colette F. Keen – Playwright

Colette has a Masters in Interpretive Writing and is currently in the second year of her PhD (Theatre and Performance) at Monash University. The PhD, titled Seeking Dorothy in the Land of OZ, features a verbatim piece on Sydney in the early 80s and affect of the HIV/AIDS epidemic titled The Death of Kings, as well as a thesis exploring the role of the writer in Verbatim Theatre.

In February of 2013 the 3rd draft of The Death of Kings, was featured at the Seymour Centre, Sydney as part of Queer Thinking a thought provoking event that is a fusion of academia, literature and ideas. This yearly event brings together some of the world’s most influential academics and creatives to discuss their work, passions and communities.

In 2009, as part of her Master’s study, Colette embarked on researching and writing Windows on the World, a verbatim play that focuses on the perspectives of individuals who were in New York on 9/11. Windows was performed at a benefit reading in the USA at Noah Wyle’s The Blank Theatre Company. The cast included Noah Wyle, Virginia Masden, Mike Farrell and many other well known USA actors. Windows, through Local Stages at BMEC, premiered in early 2012. It is currently performed in repertory across the USA. In 2012 Windows was a semi finalist in the Eugene O’Neill 2012 National Playwrights Conference (USA) with special mention made of her “characters riveting and real stories.”

Since 2005 she has worked as a subject coordinator, tutor and lecturer for the Department of Humanities and School of Communication and Creative Industry at Charles Sturt University.

Adam Deusien – Director
Adam Deusien is a director and a graduate of the Bachelor of Arts-Communication (Theatre/Media) at Charles Sturt University, Bathurst. After finishing his studies he worked with Brisbane based Zen Zen Zo Physical Theatre as part of the company’s permanent Performance Company. Adam spent two years training, teaching, performing and developing new work with them across Queensland, Hong Kong and Los Angeles and in 2009 co-wrote and developed an in-schools production of The Odyssey which toured for two years.

In 2010 he returned to Bathurst to begin a Master of Arts Practice (Directing for Stage) which he graduated from with distinction in 2011. Since then he has directed numerous works including Windows on the World, Titanomachy (Local Stages @ BMEC), Synthesis & Right Behind You (with Alison Plevey as Lingua Franca). He also works as a lecturer and tutor in Theatre/Media at Charles Sturt University.

Fiona Green – Dramaturg
Fiona Green has been working as a director, performer and dramaturg for twenty years in both devised and scripted performance. She was the Artistic Director of Shakespeare Under the Stars (2004-5, Sydney) and Assistant Director of Invisible Man and Twelfth Night (2004, Aquila Theatre Company, NYC). Fiona was an Associate Lecturer in the School of Communication, Charles Sturt University (2007-2012) teaching in writing, theatre, original work development and media theory. She dramaturged The Picnic Spot for writer Julia Andrews (performed April, 2013) and is a member of the Bathurst Playwrights’ Collective.

She has Bachelor of Psychology (Hons) from the University of New England and a Bachelor of Arts, Communication-Theatre/Media from Charles Sturt University. She has trained in Practical Aesthetics (Sydney), Commedia Delle L’Arte (Antonio Fava, Reggio Emilia, Italy) and Viewpoints/Suzuki (SITI Company, NY). She is currently working as a script-development dramaturg for two scripts (Death of Kings and a currently unnamed Trans-play).

Rehearsed Reading of the 3rd draft of The Death of Kings presented as part of Sydney Mardi Gras’ Queer Thinking, an event that is a fusion of academia, literature and ideas.

You can book tickets here: