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The Darkening Sky


Event Date: 4 August 2021 to 14 August 2021
Author / Presenters: Richard Murphet

THE DARKENING SKY is a contemporary neo-noir thriller set in the inner suburbs of Melbourne and spanning the decades from the 1960s until today. 

Two plots interweave throughout the play in a desperate search to solve the unexplained disappearance of two women, a generation apart. 

In one plot, the disturbing eruption of a vivid and unresolved memory thrusts Jamie, in his late sixties, into an investigation of two moments of loss and grief from his shakily remembered past. In the stillness of his one-room apartment, he has managed for decades to build a life of total peace and solitude. However, once thrust unwillingly into reconstructing his troubled memories, his belief in the seemingly calm surface of the Australia of his childhood crumbles. He finds himself surrounded by and confronted with elements from his past he didn’t even know existed. 

Interwoven with this, a contemporary detective, hired by an agency, is handed a ‘cold case’ involving the disappearance of a young woman (Chantal) in the 1980s. For some reason, the cause of her absence, her current whereabouts, and the discovery of the dead body of her close friend in the Elwood canal have never been solved. In chasing the answers to these mysteries, the detective unearths a web of political intrigue, violence and personal sacrifice.

THE DARKENING SKY is a play of personal loss, obsession and dedication. It suggests a hidden history for Melbourne over the decades of the 1960s and 1980s: people, struggles and events not included in standard historical accounts. The play inhabits the worlds of political operatives, criminals, drifters and politically passionate youth. The inner suburbs of Melbourne are major players in the unfolding events: their streets, houses, apartments, train stations and parks carry their past inhabitants and events still in them – irrevocably alive.


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