Helpmann Award-winning actress Ursula Yovich (Capricornia, The Secret River and ABC TV’s Gods of Wheat Street and Redfern Now), stars in a celebrated evening of song and storytelling. The Magic Hour is a deliciously dark interpretation of classic Grimms’ Fairy Tales. It is a gutsy one-woman show set in a contemporary Australian landscape where minor characters, previously sidelined, are thrust into the limelight.
What are the challenges of performing in a one-woman show?
You can't slack off, not even for a moment. Most of the time I get lost within my characters and the performance, which is wonderful ... but I have had moments where I've thought about some random thing outside of the show and then have had to catch up. Thankfully to date I've not had to stop a show due to forgetting my place! So .... absolute concentration is a must.
Does your passion for music feature in The Magic Hour?
Absolutely! I love what Joe Lui has created, the soundscape and music is like magic. There is something quite sweet about the music and yet at the same time very eerie. I actually love Joe’s music and I hope to collaborate with him in the future.
How is the Australian landscape integrated into the telling of Grimm’s fairy tales?
The space and set we use could be from anywhere in the world. Vanessa uses really strong imagery like the following from the first story, an alternate version of Red Riding Hood.
"Drive for hours, through thick green forest and black ice bitumen. Trees grow flush against the side of the road."
This line always make me think of the Tasmanian wilderness. The play is full of these images that give you a sense of this country, albeit a very dark one at times.
What do fairy tales mean to you?
I had always assumed they were about setting up rules, but for the life of me I could never work them out. Perhaps they are about the battles we have every day with our own consciousness and subconsciousness, our desires, what is right and what is wrong. A bit like Pans Labyrinth, a film I love and is very much a modern day fairy tale.
Why The Magic Hour?
Why am I doing it? There are many reasons. As soon as I read the script I was blown away by the complexities of each character, the rhythm of the whole piece is like a song (when I get one word wrong it doesn't feel right to me). The writing is full and rich and chunky. It had everything an actor looks for when they first read a script.
I fell in love with the characters, they all embody a bit of who I am. I was drawn to the bad bits as well as the good and loved both!
The Magic Hour is pretty much the best time of the day for me, crawling into bed with my daughter and reading a book or making up stories. It’s about sharing the most basic thing with another person ... yourself and your imagination.
The Magic Hour is coming to Sydney for the first time for a strictly limited season and is only showing at Riverside Theatres, Parramatta from 26th to 28th June.
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