DEATH AND THE MAIDEN

Nov 17 - Dec 4

Written by Ariel Dorfman
Directed by Jacqueline Kerr

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DIRECTOR'S NOTES

When you’re a director of a theatre company, you get a lot of people asking you to consider a lot of
plays, and a lot of times it amounts to nothing. And then you have Sandra Harman suggest Death
and the Maiden and you hit gold. As soon as I read it I knew I wanted to direct it and I wanted
Sandra to play Paulina.
The journey of this play has been amazing; exploring the text and the characters with these three
phenomenal actors has given me such a great amount of joy. Their investment in the play has meant
a level of professionalism that makes directing such a special experience and their openness to
taking risks meant that the play could operate on a very intimate level. One of my best decisions was
casting Tom Coyle as the would-be torturer. I’ve always seen him play comic or “good guy” roles and
I wondered how he would embrace the role of someone who might have gotten joy out of sexually
torturing women. But he has been terrific in this role – making the audience believe he is the victim
but could also be the perpetrator. The dual focus was a difficult ask, but Tom just rose to the
challenge and delivered in spades on my faith in him.
Sandra so passionately wanted to play the role of Paulina that she threw that passion into the
character. She embraced the mania and the “brokenness” of Paulina as though it was her own story
and she constantly worked to find the motivation for every moment in the play. Time and again
Sandra found new layers and worked so hard to be Paulina’s voice. It was inspirational. When Gary
joined the group and rounded out the team, he brought with him a tenderness that enabled him to
play the supportive husband and the fierceness of a lion defending his home. It has been a
marvellous experience to direct him through the discoveries he makes about his own wife – such a
consummate actor.
I would be lost without Mandy, my stage manager and Jess on light and sound. They worked so hard
to achieve my vision and to support the actors. And it was wonderful to put the set in the hands of
clever designer Leah and perfectionist builder Dylan. They completely transformed the space to
create the juxtapositional set needed to allow the action of the scenes to be the focus.
I am so grateful for the opportunity to direct a piece such as this. It has been a tremendous
experience.

 
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DIRECTOR

Jacqueline Kerr

Jacqueline Kerr has been directing since she became a drama teacher in 2001, with school musicals and productions. In 2013 she had her directorial debut in professional theatre with her performance of Mother Country, which she wrote and produced for heartBeast Theatre Company. She followed this with an Australian Gothic interpretation of King Lear, again for heartBeast Theatre. In 2016 she started directing for Villanova Players, directing Five Women Wearing the Same Dress (2016), Calendar Girls (2017) High Society (2018) and Picnic at Hanging Rock (2019). In 2018, Jacqueline started up Ad Astra with Fiona Kennedy, sharing the roles of managing and artistic directors, and since then has directed Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Equus, Jingle Bells Suck (which she co-wrote) in 2019, and God of Carnage and 2.20am in 2020.

Jacqueline has not only directed Death and the Maiden, but also designed its set, lighting and sound.

 
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TOM COYLE

Dr Roberto Miranda

Tom spent thirty years playing bass trombone with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra before belatedly realising he was an actor. Desperate to make up for lost time he has spent the last few years throwing himself into this new role with a decidedly theatrical zealousness.


He has taken acting lessons with anyone who will have him, including NIDA, La Boite, Matrix Theatre, ARC, Peter Rasmussen and The fACTory, as well as doing an apprenticeship with the Queensland Shakespeare Ensemble in 2020.


Putting the theory into practice he has immensely enjoyed appearing in numerous short films, TV and feature films and, of course, theatre. Stage roles have included Don Pedro in Much Ado About Nothing, Pastor Manders in Ibsen’s Ghosts, John Fisher in Matthew Ryan’s Brisbane, Michael Novak in God of Carnage as well as King Duncan in the Queensland Shakespeare Ensemble radio play version of Macbeth and Lord Montague in their recent production of Romeo and Juliet.

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SANDRA HARMAN

Paulina Salas

Sandra is a theatre and film actor, director, producer, children’s entertainer & events host. She was co-founder and administrator of the Edge Theatre Company with Ron Kelly, performed in Theatre In Education shows for Child Care Centres, Pre-schools and Primary Schools, has appeared in a number of short films, feature films, television and TVC’s for RACQ, Qld Health, Crisco and KFC and toured The Netherlands, England, Wales, and Australia as Sybil Faulty in Faulty Towers, the Dining Experience.  
Theatre productions have included Medea, Shadow of a Gunman & The Lesson (Edge Theatre), West Side Story & Murder on the Nile (Starbuck Productions), Six Degrees of Separation (Diabre), White Devil (Trocadero) Elephant Man & The Woman in Black (Harvest Rain) The Norman Conquests (Mixed Company), The Rocky Horror Show (On The Boards), The Miracle Worker (Crossbow), Henry V and The Taming of the Shrew (4MBS Shakespeare Festival), The Vagina Monologues (4Stage.Productions),  Ruby Moon & Spring Awakening (MBTC), Forbidden Broadway (Casa Mia Productions), Live! With Lynch and Paterson, and for Ad Astra, God of Carnage and 2.20am  
She has won several Best Actress awards on the Queensland Festival Circuit for her roles in Blood, Lee, Consumed and Mother, received nominations for Best Actress in The Norman Conquests (Qld Perform Awards) and for Best Performance in a Lead Role for Five Star (QFST Film Awards) and was a Gold Palm Award finalist for Best Actress in a Leading Role for Ruby Moon.

 
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GARY FARMER-TRICKETT

Gerardo Escabar

Gary grew up in the UK and after graduating, produced and directed children’s theatre throughout England with his own company, Fishbowl Theatre. He has performed in various charity events at the Royal Albert Hall and worked for the BBC performing in television and an educational video The Aerosol Kid for Secondary Schools across the country.  

Since moving to Australia, Gary has toured across Southeast Queensland and won numerous Best Actor awards on the Queensland Festival Circuit, has written two original Australian One Act plays and was a Gold Palm Award finalist for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his performance in Ruby Moon. 

Theatre productions have included Avenue Q, Little Shop of Horrors, The Breakfast Club (Assistant Director), Void, Are you being Served? - Brisbane Arts Theatre, Heathers, Fame, Ruby Moon (Ray Moon), Steel Magnolias (Director) - MBTC, Forbidden Broadway (Casa Mia Productions) My Dead Bunny  - That Production Company, and The Descent, Wondered and Update  -  Mira Ball Productions.

When Gary is not directing or performing, he juggles work with being a Dad to a very energetic 7-year-old.

 

CREW AND CONSTRUCTION

Ad Astra is excited to acknowledge our dedicated and skilful crew and construction crew

Amanda McCarrick

AMANDA MCCARRICK

Stage Manager

Since 2000, Amanda has been involved with some amazing companies including Queensland Musical Theatre; Act1 Theatre; Mira Ball Productions and Moreton Bay Theatre Company - on the stage and behind the scenes. 


Over this time Amanda has had the great privilege of working on some incredible plays and, since moving into a role of Stage Manager in 2014, she has assisted on exceptional shows, like “Entertaining Angels”, “I Do, I Do, I Do”, “Unoriginal Sin”, “Orca”, “The Descent”, “Wondered” “Little Shop of Horrors”, “X-Stacy” “Ruby Moon” and “The Father” – to name a few. 

She has accepted undertakings that have challenged her, including being a stage manager in the 2018 “South East Qld Festival Circuit” & 2019 “Anywhere Festival” and for that, she is truly grateful. She feels so honoured to have been given the chance to work on all kinds of theatre and polish her skills as a Stage manager.

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JESSICA GILLARD

Lighting and Sound Technician

Jess has been involved in theatre for more than 15 years, in both stage management and technical roles.  She has previously been involved in Jesus Christ Superstar with PRIMA and multiple theatre restaurants and shows including The Odd Couple (female version) and After Miss Julie with Act 1 Theatre.  Working with MBTC for 3 years has racked up over 25 shows including SpeakEasy, Jasper Jones, Backwards Broadway 2019, Spring Awakening, Best of British, In Bloom, Breakfast Club, Steel Magnolias and many more.  This is Jess’ first production with Ad Astra and she’s looking forward stepping out of her comfort zone with a new company, new role and new theatre.

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LEAH FITZGERALD-QUINN

Set Dresser

Leah is an actor, designer & baker, with a love for all things creative. She divides her time between flexing her Shakespeare muscles with Queensland Shakespeare Ensemble (QSE), feeling guilty about the amount of costumes stacked in her living room, and spreading edible glitter throughout the house. As an actor, Leah has worked extensively across the local theatre scene with companies such as the Brisbane Immersive Ensemble and 4MBS Shakespeare Festival, whilst continuing her training as a core ensemble member with QSE. Her design credits include costume design for Romeo & Juliet (QSE, 2021), Express Macbeth (QSE, 2020), and the Shakespeare Prison Project’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream (QSE, 2020) and production design for Stronger/Pariah (Lightning Bolt Creative, 2021) and the 48 Hour Film Project Awards Ceremony (2021). When she’s not on or around a stage Leah is an avid baker and decorator with the aspiration to one day establish her own macaron business.

 
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B'Elanna Hill

Assistant Lighting Design