ASYLUM by Ruth Fingret

PROGRAM

The Greek Theatre, Building 36, 142 Addison Road, Marrickville.

May 2-12, 2024

Images by Renee Nowytarger

RUN TIME

75 Minutes

WARNINGS

ASYLUM includes coarse language and loud noises and contains themes of violence, suicide and domestic abuse. Not recommended for children under 15 years of age. 

CAST

Eli Saad as Hajir

Chris Miller as Craig

Levi Kenway as Jason

Dianne Weller as Vikki

Emma Burns as Christine

CREATIVES

Ruth Fingret Writer

Olga Tamara Director and set designer

Mehran Mortezaei Lighting Design

Greg Skehill Score

Supported by Ian Cooke

Reviews

From the Writer

The creative journey for ASYLUM was ignited by a profound encounter with a man I met who worked within the Australian Immigration system. He shared his insights into the relentless efforts of immigration officers to discern the authenticity of asylum seekers' accounts amidst the flux of truth and fabrication. Moreover, it prompted reflection on the sanctity of refuge and the places, real or imaginary, we seek solace in times of adversity. What started as a conversation finished as this play which I'm proud to be producing with this wonderful creative team.

From the Director

In 2022 Ruth Fingret asked me if I was interested in directing a play she had written called ASYLUM. After one read it was a “hell yeah” from me. After after months of searching for the right cast and the right theatre here we are in 2024 ready to put on a play we are all proud of. This beautifully written play deals with many issues including, mental health, dishonesty and emotional disconnection. The events and characters unfold in an excellent fast paced script with juxtaposing stories. You can’t help but feel empathy for all the characters despite some making bad choices as they do the only things they can to protect themselves and those they care for most. ASYLUM is a challenging piece of work for the actors. Not only for the emotional journey all their characters go through but the structure of the play. At times two or three scenes are interwoven, playing out simultaneously, overlapping. When putting on an independent theatre production it certainly comes with its challenges. We don’t have the luxury of full-time rehearsals for weeks or months on end. In our case we managed roughly three rehearsals a week in limited rehearsal space while some of the actors juggle day jobs.  I am immensely proud of this dedicated team of actors and how far they have come over the past six weeks and the bonds they have made.  ASYLUM is an intelligent piece of writing that will make you think.

Eli Saad is a Sydney based actor with credits in The Unlisted (ABC/Netflix), Deadly Women (Netflix) and theatre productions Just a Short Break on a Hafgufa, Asylum (in 2017) and Future Seekers. His professional training includes foundation work with Screenwise and Actors Centre Australia, along with master classes with Allison Meadows, Tamara Hunter, Anthony Wong and Michelle Danner. Eli has continued to expand himself in the industry, garnering experience in directing, teaching and voice over work. After a break from the acting scene Eli is beyond thrilled to return to the stage and reprise his role as Hajir in Ruth Fingret’s Asylum in 2024..

Chris Miller is a professional Actor and Voice Over Artist hailing from Port Macquarie and based in Sydney Australia. Miller trained at UOW and tutored under reps from NIDA, RADA, The Actors Studio (N.Y) and Griffith University. Known for his vivacious energy and laundry list of credits. Miller's recent run of shows in the immersive true crime project Deadhouse, had him reviewed as “Miller is Ferocious” (Theatre travels), The Daily Telegraphs reviewed Miller as “An Explosive Force of Nature” as Lt Peter Handcock in Breaker Morant and “Miller's Energy knows No Bounds” (The Buzz) in the Dystopian production Out of Fear. Simply put, “Miller Entertains” (Time Out). Miller also specialises in voice over, narration and audiobook production and is the Founder and Creative Director of bookclubaudio.com

Levi Kenway (he/him) graduated in 2021 from the Academy of Film Theatre and Television with a Bachelor of Acting. He has also completed his ATCL Letters in Speech and Drama from the Trinity College of London. Levi's theatre credits include: Rabbit in 'Samson' (Full Throttle Theatre), Benedick in 'Much Ado About Nothing' (Izabella Louk Presents), Ensemble in 'Mortel' (Merak Physical Theatre), Bruce in 'The Tale of the Great Emu War' (Fingerless Theatre) and Ben in 'SHITTY' (Essential Workers).

Dianne Weller is an award winning Actress, Voice Over Artist & Singer who performed and directed For Your Ears Only at the Beursschowberg, Brussels, Buda Kortrijk and the Monty Antwerp, in Assassins at the Theatre Garonne, Toulouse, France, the Monty, Antwerp,
de Singel, Antwerp, CC Brugge, Theatre Marni, Brussels, Vooruit, Gent, Beligum, Theatre Garasjen, the Theatre Garden Norway, The Malta Festival, Poznan, Poland, and Nature Theatre of Oklahoma’s Life and Times 2 at Kaai Theatre Brussels, CC Brugge, de Singel Antwerp, Belgium. In the UK, in Blue Remembered Hills, Spring Awakening for Theatre Royal Bath, Blackrock at the Young Vic Theatre London, The Dysfunctional Family at Tristian Bates Theatre and Battersea Arts Centre Opera Festival London, 2000 In Our Time at the London Palladium Theatre and Amadeus at the Enmore Theatre Sydney. She has featured in television series Total Control for ABC, Professor T for ITV PBS, Cellule de Crise for Swiss TV, and lead supporting role in the upcoming Spellbound season 2 on Hulu, France TV and ZDF in Germany.

Emma Burns is a Sydney based Actor/Director who has trained at Sydney Acting Studio since 2019, with professionals Travis McMahon, Donald Woodburn, Adam Dunn, Grace Naoum, Stephen Hunter and more. Emma began acting at 15 with a performance of Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing (2014), directed by Francesca Bridge-Cicic in Oxford. Since then Emma studied Drama at school and for the HSC, as well as taking various courses with NIDA Open, ScreenWise, ATYP and Run At It Shouting in London. Credits include The Removalists (2015), Romeo and Juliet (2017), No Exit (2019), Titus Andronicus (2021), The Glass Menagerie (2022) and The Eight Reindeer Monologues (2023). Emma’s directing credits include Venus In Fur (2019), Act Natural (2023), and Comfort, Spin, Travel (2023). Emma has been honing their skills at Sydney Acting Studio to focus on screen performance and hopes to follow a career in both stage and screen. Emma plans to one day live and work in the UK or the US.

From the Writer

The creative journey for ASYLUM was ignited by a profound encounter with a man I met who worked within the Australian Immigration system. He shared his insights into the relentless efforts of immigration officers to discern the authenticity of asylum seekers’ accounts amidst the flux of truth and fabrication. Moreover, it prompted reflection on the sanctity of refuge and the places, real or imaginary, we seek solace in times of adversity.

What started as a conversation finished as this play which I’m proud to be producing with this wonderful creative team.

From the Director

In 2022 Ruth Fingret asked me if I was interested in directing a play she had written called ASYLUM. After one read it was a “hell yeah” from me. After after months of searching for the right cast and the right theatre here we are in 2024 ready to put on a play we are all proud of.

This beautifully written play deals with many issues including, mental health, dishonesty and emotional disconnection. The events and characters unfold in an excellent fast paced script with juxtaposing stories. You can’t help but feel empathy for all the characters despite some making bad choices as they do the only things they can to protect themselves and those they care for most.

ASYLUM is a challenging piece of work for the actors. Not only for the emotional journey all their characters go through but the structure of the play. At times two or three scenes are interwoven, playing out simultaneously, overlapping. When putting on an independent theatre production it certainly comes with its challenges. We don’t have the luxury of full-time rehearsals for weeks or months on end. In our case we managed roughly three rehearsals a week in limited rehearsal space while some of the actors juggle day jobs. 

I am immensely proud of this dedicated team of actors and how far they have come over the past six weeks and the bonds they have made. 

ASYLUM is an intelligent piece of writing that will make you think.

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The cast and crew would like to thank

Ian Cooke

for his generous sponsorship of our play. 

Ian is an award-winning director has worked for over 25 years in the production environment. Starting his career as a professional camera operator in 1988, he set up a production company in early 1990 which he built up over 6 years mainly producing corporate videos and commercials.

In 1998 he produced a short film Stairwell which ended up being invited to the Sundance Film festival, and since has worked on several projects.

As a director he wrote and directed a feature documentary call Humble Hope which garnered several international awards and was nominated for best feature doc & best director at the Southampton International Film Festival in the UK.

In 2017 he co-directed a 2 part series called “How can it Be”, a reality Documentary on Mental Health and DNA which aired on Qantas in flight for 12 over months.

In 2019 in his first foray into theatre, he came 2nd in the Short and Sweet festival with a play called Blueberry Muffins where he first collaborated with Olga Tamara.

Ian has a passion for film and theatre and felt compelled to support Olga in her play Asylum as it deals with an important theme and had such a strong script.

 

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The National Justice Project is a human rights law firm that fearlessly fights to end discrimination.

Our mission is to fight for truth, justice and accountability by eradicating systemic discrimination. We do this through the power of strategic legal action, social justice education, fearless advocacy and collaborative partnerships.

We work to create systemic change and amplify the voices of communities harmed by government inaction, harm and discrimination.