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A Cheery Soul

Sarah Peirse steps into the sensible shoes of Patrick White's well-meaning yet ghastly Miss Docker.

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A Cheery Soul

Date: 11 Oct 2018

Meet Miss Docker: the delightfully ghastly anti-hero of this celebrated Australian classic. She is relentlessly upbeat – the quintessential ‘cheery soul’.

Miss Docker is one of Nobel Laureate Patrick’s White’s most memorable creations. She and her neighbours are as hilarious and peculiar as they are uncannily familiar. Together, this pioneering text and marvellous characters take us on a dizzying ride through suburban Australia, exploring the meaning of morality, mortality and the need for belonging.

In the imagined every-suburb of Sarsparilla, Miss Docker is looking for somewhere to belong as her search for purpose and love leads her in a series of increasingly surreal acts. We follow her from the home of her well-meaning neighbours Mr and Mrs Custance, to the nursing home, the church and finally to the isolated grounds of the crematorium, where a cattle dog makes a final bitter judgement.

One of Australia’s most revered writers, White uses poetic language and piercing satire to peel back the scalp of the Australian mind and reveal the underlying horror of 1960s suburbia. These acidic insights are as dark and funny now as they were upon the play’s debut in 1963.

Sarah Peirse (The Children, Switzerland) is Miss Docker, joined by an ensemble including Anita Hegh, Tara Morice, Shari Sebbens and Bruce Spence. Kip Williams directs, punctuating the live action with video to tap into the subconscious mind of Miss Docker and the people she encounters.

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A Cheery Soul
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ArchivedSydney Opera House, Bennelong Point 5 Nov - 15 Dec 2018

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Audrey review: Sarah Peirse brings Patrick White’s Miss Docker to vivid life in a remarkable performance.

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