Dead Puppet Society

The Harbinger

A co-production with Critical Stages.

In a long lost city in a time far distant from ours, an Old Man works in a rundown old bookshop. He has lived there for many years, centuries even, all because of a pact made long ago that has allowed him to cheat death. Gifted with this extraordinary long life the Old Man has watched the world around him change, watched his city sink into misery, watched his nightmares come to life and walk around the streets. But his attention is elsewhere, on a masterwork that will change the city forever.

Until late one afternoon a nameless Little Girl finds her way into the bookshop and, refusing to leave, ruins everything. Torn from his work, the Old Man is forced to relive the pain of his past, taking the Little Girl through magical worlds of story and memory where the lines between reality and make believe fall away. But before long the Old Man's adversary returns to take his due, and with time running out the Old Man calls on his young friend to help him complete his task. But what does the Old Man have planned for the city? Will he save it or destroy it?

In 2011, The Harbinger premiered to sell-out houses and an extended season as part of La Boite Indie. Due to the overwhelming popular demand for the production it moved to La Boite's Mainstage in 2012. A refreshed and fuller version of this extraordinary adult fairytale is now set to tour Australia.

Written by David Morton (The Timely Death of Victor Blott) and Matthew Ryan (boy girl wall), The Harbinger is part puppet show, part storybook, part daydream. It's a classic tale of heroes and villains, centred on a little girl and an old man who find themselves thrown together in the aftermath of civil war. The Harbinger embraces terror and beauty and enchants us with both.

"The Harbinger weaves a beautiful, gothic and delicate narrative through a rich and visual form of storytelling." (ArtsHub)

"Like children being led through a new picture book, we were treated to imagination, magic and wonder." (Stage Whispers)

"It's all about ways of telling a story, part Grimm, part apocalyptic fable, part fairytale, with overtones of classical myth, plenty of millennial angst, and torment about the fragility of words and social upheaval... It's an engrossing and very moving theatrical triumph." (A Little Gossip)

Production team:

Writers and Directors David Morton & Matthew Ryan
Producer Nicholas Paine
Puppetry and Stage Designer David Morton
Lighting Designer Whitney Eglington
Sound Designer Tone Black Productions
Costume Designer Noni Harrison
Scenic Artist and Illustrator Anna Straker
Performers Emily Burton, Kathleen Iron, Barb Lowing, Anna Straker, Nathan Booth and Giema Contini
Stage Managers Rebecca Poulter and Justin Marshman
Technical Manager Samuel Maher
Assistant Production Manager Matthew Seery

Past productions:

12-13 August 2014 | Brown's Mart Theatre | Darwin Festival
19-20 August 2014 | Byron Bay Community Centre
28-29 August 2014 | Cairns Civic Centre
5-6 September 2014 | Gasworks Arts Parkb (Melbourne)
9 September 2014 | West Gippsland Arts Centre
11 September 2014 | Colac Otway Performing Arts Centre
13 September 2014 | Hawthorn Arts Centre
16 September 2014 | Plenty Ranges Arts Centre
20 September 2014 | Healesville Memorial Hall
23 September 2014 | Forge Theatre and Arts
24 September 2014 | John Leslie Theatre (Sale)
25-26 September 2014 | Darebin Arts and Entertainment Centre
1-4 October 2014 | Street Theatre (Canberra)
7 October 2014 | Australian Theatre for Young People (Sydney)
9-10 October 2014 | Gold Coast Arts Centre

11 August - 1 September 2012 | La Boite Mainstage | La Boite Theatre Company
13 - 30 July 2011 | La Boite Indie | La Boite Theatre Company

The Harbinger has been made possible through funding from Creative Sparks (a joint initiative of Brisbane City Council and Arts Queensland).

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