West coast premiere of "Daisy in the Dreamtime"


In 1913, Daisy Bates abandoned her family and all the comforts of civilization, pitched a tent in the Australian outback and lived there with the Aborigines for 30 years.  The Fountain Theatre presents the West Coast premiere of Daisy in the Dreamtime by Lynne Kaufman, the true story of the first white woman to live among the Aborigines and enter the "Dreamtime." Simon Levy directs a multiple award-winning cast including Lisa Pelikan in the title role; Anthony J. Haney as "King Billy"; Suanne Spoke as German missionary Annie Lock;  Jay Bell; Eve Brenner; and Lance Guest.  Andjru Werderitsch plays the didjeridu , the ancient percussion/wind instrument of Australia  , live on stage.  Daisy in the Dreamtime is the final offering of the 2003-2004 Hot Properties series, a collaboration of the Los Angeles County Arts Commission and A.S.K. Theater Projects at [Inside] the Ford. It opens Saturday, March 20 for a 6-week run through April 25.  Low-priced previews begin March 11. 

Always dressed in Edwardian clothes, the Irish-born Daisy Mae Bates was nicknamed Kabbarli (grandmother) by "her people."  She studied and wrote down their customs, languages, rites and legends going back to the Dreamtime, waging a one woman war to keep them from the railway line and its "civilization."

"Daisy struggled for meaning in what she considered an overly materialistic and time-bound world," says Kaufman.  "We all feel the burden of the daily pressure of time, the pace of our lives, the constant accumulating.  How can we simplify our lives? How did she manage to find a deeper truth?" 

"This play evokes a magical, mystical world that most of us have never experienced," agrees Levy.  "What makes the Aboriginal people so unique is their relationship to the earth and to time , what they call the 'dreaming.'  The past, present and future are all one.  The world of the play is endless red sand and blue sky where time and place are fluid."

Daisy in the Dreamtime has been published in the Smith & Kraus anthology "Women Playwrights: The Best Plays of 2003," due out in March, 2004.  It is the recipient of the Rella Lossy Playwright's Award and had its New York premiere at Off-Broadway's Abingdon Theatre. 

Lynne Kaufman is an accomplished playwright, novelist, and short-story writer.  Many of her plays are based on historical figures and all feature strong women protagonists.  The Next Marilyn premiered at Florida Studio Theatre, as did Fakes which was optioned for film by 20th Century Fox.  Shooting Simone, a romantic comedy about the love affair of Simone de Beauvoir and John-Paul Sartre, premiered at Actors Theatre of Louisville Humana Festival and received six subsequent regional productions.  Four of her plays premiered at The Magic Theatre, including The Couch, about Jung and Freud, which won The Glickman Award for Best New Play in San Francisco, and Speaking in Tongues, about James Joyce, which won the Kennedy Center/NEA/ New Plays Award.  Her play Our Lady of the Desert, about Georgia O'Keefe, won Theatreworks' Best New Play in California Award and premiered in its Palo Alto theater.  Lynne's plays have also been produced by the Walnut Street Theatre (Philadelphia); Fountain Theatre and The Cast Theatre (L.A.); The Contemporary American Theatre Festival (West Virginia); and Horizons Theatre (Washington, D.C.).  Her first novel, "Slow Hands", has been published by Mira Books and optioned by Madonna's film company, Maverick.  Her second novel, "Wild Women's Weekend," will be published this June.

Simon Levy is a multiple award-winning director/writer/producer. Directing credits: Master Class (extended through April 25, 2004); Going to St. Ives and Uncle Vanya (both L.A. Times Critics' Choices); The Night of the Iguana; The Last Tycoon, which he also wrote (5 Garland Awards, including Best Adaptation and Direction); Orpheus Descending (6 Drama-Logue Awards, including Best Production and Direction). His stage adaptation of The Great Gatsby, the first sanctioned by the Fitzgerald Estate, has been optioned for a commercial production, and his stage adaptation of Fitzgerald's Tender is the Night won the PEN West Literary Award for Drama. 

Lisa Pelikan (Daisy Bates) starred in the world premieres of Arthur Miller's The American Clock and Jim Leonard's The Diviners; Spring's Awakening (Circle Rep, NYC); Craig Lucas' and Norman Rene's Blue Window (West Coast premiere); Des McAnuff's Twelfth Night; Communicating Doors (Odyssey Theatre); Panache (Players Theatre, NYC - ADA Award, Best Actress In A Comedy); Only A Broken String of Pearls (Drama-Logue Award).  Film credits: the young "Julia" (sharing the title role with Vanessa Redgrave) in Julia; Return to the Blue Lagoon; Lionheart; Jennifer (Best Actress Award, International Science Fiction & Horror Film Festival).  She recently directed 'night, Mother at Interact Theatre.

Anthony J. Haney (King Billy) For the Fountain: Walter Curry in Central Avenue, and directed Poet Laureate Rita Dove's The Darker Face of the Earth and Oyamo's I Am A Man, in which he also starred.  Other stage: San Francisco Mime Troupe; Berkeley Rep; Magic Theatre; and 25 years with TheatreWorks as actor, director and associate artistic director.  For TheatreWorks: The Elephant Man; Much Ado About Nothing; The Great White Hope; Ma Rainey's Black Bottom; Master Harold and the boys...; Fences. 

Suanne Spoke (Annie Lock) starred in Road Theatre's Napoli Milionaria (Ovation Award); played Blanche Dubois in Deaf West's A Streetcar Named Desire (ADA Award; Ovation, LADCC, LA Weekly nominations); starred in the West Coast premiere of Life In The Trees (LADCC nomination).  For Company of Angels: David's Mother (Ovation, Drama-Logue, Garland Awards); Gods Of The Lightning; The Balcony Scene; Nebraska; Midnight Caller.  Suanne became a part of television history with her leading role in Growing Up Brady as Ann B. Davis, the actress who played the wisecracking Brady maid, Alice.

Jay Bell (Professor Radcliffe-Brown) Theater credits: Our Town (Circle In the Square, NYC); Much Ado About Nothing (Barter Theatre, VA); Dumas (Asolo Theatre, FL); The Boys in the Band (Bucks County Playhouse, N.J.); The Elephant Man (Alley Theatre, TX). In California: The Dining Room (Old Globe);  Zoot Suit (Aquarius Theatre); Woman From Samos (Getty Museum); Quartermaines Terms (Theatre 40); Mrs. Warren's Profession (PRT); Cymbeline (A Noise Within).

Eve Brenner (Grandma Hunt) started as a teenager Off-Broadway, then early theater-in-the-round, and touring US, Canada and Japan. Some recent local theater: The Rivals, Three Sisters, Yes is For a Very Young Man, and Counsellor-at-Law (Interact); Mary Barnes and True West (Odyssey); Jitters and Best Wishes (GNU).

Lance Guest (Jack Bates) Recent theater: Spite for Spite (Anateus); Marked Tree, A Mislaid Heaven (Road Theatre); The 7th Monarch, (Road Theatre/ Deaf West); Chomulungma (Aiggurat/Gascon). Indie films include: Plan B, The Wizard of Loneliness, The Roommate, and Mach II.  He is best-known for The Last Starfighter (1984).

Andjru Werderitsch (Didjeridu Player) spent several years in Australia dancing, performing, and volunteering with aboriginal youth.  He teaches rhythm and movement classes with a focus on didjeridu in schools throughout L.A., utilizing the vibratory quality of the instrument as a tool to access internal awareness and as a healing tool.  He also teaches theater arts to inner city youth with InsideOut Community Arts, a nonprofit organization in Venice.

The Fountain Theatre, with over 100 awards for excellence, is dedicated to providing a nurturing, creative home for multi-ethnic theater and dance artists.  Activities include a year-round season of fully-produced new and established plays (25 world premieres and 17 Los Angeles premieres in 14 years), a full season of multi-ethnic dance, the foremost presenters of Flamenco in Los Angeles, a New Plays developmental series, and Educational Outreach Programs: Poetry in Motion (with the Virginia Avenue Project, where deaf and hearing children create poetry and theater), an HIV/AIDS acting workshop, the American Literature Theatre Project, the development of a children's theater program in association with a neighborhood elementary school, and off-site presentations/tours.

Daisy in the Dreamtime is produced by Stephen Sachs; set design is by Desma Murphy; lighting design is by Kathi O'Donohue; sound design by David B. Marling; costume design is by Naila Aladdin-Sanders; and projections are by Marc Rosenthal.

The Hot Properties series is a collaboration of the Los Angeles County Arts Commission and A.S.K. Theater Projects, made possible in part by a generous grant from The James Irvine Foundation.  A.S.K., a philanthropic foundation committed to the development of new work for the American stage, ceased operations at the end of September, but continues to meet all obligations to programs that were already in progress, including Hot Properties.  For Hot Properties, three Los Angeles-based theater companies were selected to produce fully-staged runs of new plays in the L.A. County Arts Commission-operated [Inside] the Ford, a state-of-the-art, 87-seat indoor performance space.

Daisy in the Dreamtime runs Thursday, Friday, Saturday at 8:00 pm and Sunday at 2:00 pm, March 20 through April 25.  Tickets are $25.00.  Preview performances take place Thursday, March 11; Friday, March 12, Saturday, March 13; Thursday, March 18; and Friday, March 19 at 8:00 pm, and on Sunday March 14 at 2:00 pm.  Preview tickets are $15.00. Students and seniors receive $2.00 off the general ticket or preview price.  [Inside] the Ford is located at 2580 Cahuenga Blvd. East in Hollywood, off the 101, across the freeway from the Hollywood Bowl  and south of Universal Studios.  Free, non-stacked parking is available on-site.  For reservations and information, the public should call the Ford Theatres Box Office at (323) 461-3673 or go to www.fordamphitheatre.org.


Daisy in the Dreamtime , The true story of Daisy Bates, the first white woman to live among the Australian Aborigines and enter the "Dreamtime." 

Presented by the Fountain Theatre
Written by Lynne Kaufman
Directed by Simon Levy
Featuring Jay Bell, Eve Brenner, Lance Guest, Anthony J. Haney, Lisa Pelikan, and Suanne Spoke
Didjeridu played by Andjru Werderitsch

Previews Thursdays March 11 & 18 at 8:00 pm; Fridays March 12 & 19 at 8:00 pm; Saturday March 13 at 8 pm; and Sunday, March 14 at 2 pm
Opens Saturday, March 20 at 8:00 pm
Continues through April 25:
Thursdays March 25 and April 1, 8, 15 & 22 at 8:00 pm
Fridays March 26 and April 2, 9, 16 & 23 at 8:00 pm
Saturdays March 20 (opening night) & 27 and April 3, 10, 17 & 24 at 8:00 pm
Sundays March 21 & 28 and April 4, 11, 18 & 25 at 2:00 pm 

[Inside] the Ford
2580 Cahuenga Blvd. East
Hollywood, CA  90068 (just off the 101, across the freeway from the Hollywood Bowl  and south of Universal Studios)

(323) GO 1-FORD (461-3673) or www.fordamphitheatre.org

General admission: $25
Previews: $15
Student and Seniors: $2 discount

Free on-site (non-stacked)


Hot Properties is a collaboration of the Los Angeles County Arts Commission and A.S.K. Theater Projects and is supported, in part, with a generous grant from The James Irvine Foundation.

Lucy Pollak (818) 887-1499  [email protected]
Kim Garfield (323) 965-1029  [email protected]

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