The Dead Ones….a theatre review by Deb Meyer

February 20, 2014 by Deb Meyer
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If you can make it past the confronting title of this deeply personal production by Margie Fischer, you’ll find a rewarding and profoundly affecting piece of theatre.

Telling the story

Telling the story

More an evening of poetic storytelling, combined with photographs, Fischer presents an exploration of memory, family and death, the effects of the Holocaust and the power of objects once family are no longer alive. This is a beautifully written ode to the 5 family members who shared her loving family home in East Lindfield – her Austrian grandparents, her parents Alois and Marianne Fischer (‘proud refugees and Jews’) and her beloved brother Peter, 5 years her junior, who died from cancer at the tender age of 22.

Fischer confronts with stoicism and tenderness the responsibility of clearing out her family home, deciding which objects to keep and which to discard, which to burn and which to display…what to do with objects – from the love letters her parents wrote to each other, books, music, photos and clothes they cherished, to her brothers carpentry tools and even the family cat. As the ‘repository of memories’, Fischer confronts us to think of the meaning placed on objects and the stories embedded within them.

The focus is clearly on the dead ones in her life and their personal journey. From her parents’ journey from Vienna to Shanghai in 1938, where they arrived with a mere $4 and lived for ten years before coming to Sydney, we learn many intimate details of her family. She shares many memories familiar with Jewish refugees – including the delight of eating her Oma’s strudel around the family table, with many arguments over sauerkraut, frankfurts and kugalof.

There’s a heavy burden to pay for being the only one left in the Fischer family. Fischer is keenly aware that if she doesn’t tell others about her brother, parents and grandparents, ‘then who will?’

The Dead Ones is directed and designed by the experienced Catherine Fitzgerald and Kathryn Sproul, respectively, and achieved with simplicity, retaining the focus clearly on the tender words and photographs in the piece.

This is the fourth season of The Dead Ones. The show was first performed at the Feast Festival in Adelaide, where Fischer now lives and which is a Gay and Lesbian festival which Fischer helped to establish. Now performed in Sydney as part of the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras festival, this has special meaning for Fischer and will certainly have a strong emotional resonance for many.

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The Dead Ones

Written and performed by Margie Fischer

Directed by Catherine Fitzgerald

Designed by Kathryn Sproul

Seymour Centre Sound Lounge, Cleveland St, Chippendale

From February 18-22 at 7pm and Saturday 22 at 3pm.

Tickets $25 conc. $20

Bookings 02- 93517940 or www.seymourcentre.com or at the door

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