Publicity still for "The Ishmael Club". L-R: Brett Climo as Will Dyson, Robert Menzies as Norman Lindsay, Asher Keddie as Ruby Lind. Photographer: Ponch Hawkes
The Ishmael Club
20 February 2004 – 20 March 2004 Beckett Theatre
Playbox Theatre Company, Commonplace Productions,
The Ishmael Club presents a non-liner narrative in a collage of styles. Constructed using a ‘play within a play’ technique and drawing on performance styles including realism, documentary, music theatre and parody. The central characters are Ishmael Club members. Their dialogue encapsulates arguments from early 20th century debates about the culture of mateship with its exclusion of women and children and the women’s suffrage movement.
Flourished at Fasoli’s café in the bohemian heyday of the early 1900s, with habituées including artists, poets, actors, journalists, musicians, emigrés and politicians. Katherine Mansfield, Trixie Tracey, Fred McCubbin, Louis Esson - as well as the tribe of Lindsays - all congregated there. The food was simple but the talk was demanding. Fired by music, garlic and impromptu theatrics, The Ishmael Club was dedicated to provocation.
Bill Garner and Sue Gore's play, which had a sellout season at Trades Hall in 2003 before arriving at Playbox, uses the Club setting to examine the lives of Norman Lindsay, Will Dyson and Ruby Lind (Lindsay's sister and Dyson's wife).
Production still for 2003 season of "The Ishmael Club". L-R: Asher Keddie as Ruby Lind, Robert Menzies as Norman Lindsay, Brett Climo as Will Dyson. Photographer: Ponch Hawkes