RMIT Gallery will present a play within an exhibition during Peter Corrigan: Cities of Hope , with a production based on Marguerite Duras’ novel “The Lover“.
Looming large in the middle of the gallery is a raised, boxed-in stage that appears to have floated in from another planet.
Constructed for the Corrigan exhibition (12 April-8 June), it displays the whimsical humour that Peter Corrigan, architect and set designer, is known for.
Imposing and claustrophobic, the pop-up set evokes the sparse luminosity of Duras' prose.
Presented within the exhibition space itself, the one-act play will give audiences a rare opportunity to experience the relationship between Corrigan's engagement with theatre and his overall approach to design.
Both as an award-winning architect and set designer, Corrigan is enamoured by the notion of dreams and their narratives.
Corrigan also delights in being provocative, which is why he insisted on actor Kate Kendall (Neighbours, Stingers) reprising her role in the play, based on the author's novel about a young girl's affair with an older man. Kendall's performance in the 2007 Stork Theatre production was hailed as being "forged in erotic fire".
RMIT Gallery Director Suzanne Davies said a university art gallery was the ideal venue for the performances.
"In the context of Duras' novel, Kendall's nakedness in front of a live audience will reveal a layer of vulnerability and the hidden, secret desires of the story that cuts across sexual and racial boundaries," Ms Davies said.
"Within the context of Corrigan's own architectural drawings and vast personal art collection, the obvious references to an artist laying their work and life bare before an audience are given added poignancy."
Director Greg Carroll said he was excited to be restaging "The Lover" in Corrigan's set within the exhibition.
"Corrigan is an artist first, and his vision is an artist's vision, whether it is for a set or a building," he said.
"Duras was an absolutely fearless writer of truth and staggering beauty. She broke a lot of boundaries – she had balls. This production follows in those footsteps."
What: “The Lover“ – one act play (85 minutes)
Who: Starring Kate Kendall, directed by Greg Carroll, with a set by Peter Corrigan
Where: RMIT Gallery, 344 Swanston Street, Melbourne
When: 16 May–25 May 8pm (16-18 May, 23-25 May) and 4pm (19 May, 25 May)
Part of the exhibition, Peter Corrigan: Cities Of Hope (12 April-8 June)
Cost: $35 (full), $30 (concession)