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SCAN 2003

Karen Therese

Virginia Baxter

In Nikki Heywood’s The Dark Room at PACT Youth Theatre a very young Karen Therese impressed as a daring and charismatic performer. She went on to train with Tess De Quincey until deciding on the Animateuring course at VCA. Since graduating in 2000 Karen has created a variety of collaborative works and freelanced with companies such as desoxy theatre in Melbourne, where Teresa Blake was her mentor, and Brisbane’s transmute collective. Karen received a kickstART grant from Next Wave as well as support from the Literature Board’s Write in your Face initiative to develop the trilogy, whitegirlblackdreams. Part 1, Sleeplessness, is based on the intriguing story of Karen’s grandmother who was unknown to the family until Karen’s sister began to excavate the history and discovered Lenke Palffy. Born in Budapest, working as a couturier, Palffy escaped post war Hungary for Australia where her 2 small children were placed in orphanages. How she came to be identified as a German man when she died in a nursing home in Annandale many years later is part of the story of Sleeplessness which Karen Therese presents at Performance Space this month during Carnivale. The performance is an attempt to construct a memory of an unknown relative whose life has uncannily provided the map for subsequent generations to follow. The research took Karen (with filmmaker Margie Medlin) to Hungary to construct a narrative of speculative events in Palffy's life. Sleeplessness is driven by Karen Therese’s intense desire to account for a remarkable life and to somehow weave it into her own. Also working on the project are young musician/sound artist Anna Leibzeit (Svila, Next Wave 2002) who uses the rhythms of an insomniac’s sleep to underscore the physical act of memory. Designer/maker Jane Shadbolt creates a latex skin for the projections by media artist Sean Bacon. Direction is by Toula Filokostas. Karen Therese has received a New Media Arts Board Run_Way grant to return to Budapest in 2004 to continue her research.

RealTime issue #57 Oct-Nov 2003 pg. 7

© Virginia Baxter; for permission to reproduce apply to [email protected]

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