Man With The Iron Neck tells the story of an Australian family – three Aboriginal kids from a small town – and how two choose to survive when one is lost.
Created by Australia’s leading physical theatre company, Legs on the Wall, this daring and delicate show is based on elements of co-director Josh Bond’s own story.
When Ash loses his best friend to suicide, he becomes obsessed with early 20th century circus star The Great Peters – AKA ‘Man With The Iron Neck’, whose most famous trick saw him jump off bridges with a rope tied around his neck, and live. The Great Peters embodied both life and death, but in the end what he promises is impossible.
Bringing together co-director Gavin Robins, Yovich and some of Australia’s best artists, Man with the Iron Neck combines a bold script with aerial choreography, heightened physicality and hyperreal stage design.
Writer/actor Yovich – one of Australia’s most revered actors (Mother Courage and Her Children; The Sapphires) – was initially involved in the work as a performer only, but jumped at the invitation to spread her wings as writer and tell a story which hits close to home.
“Legs on the Wall made a massive and bold decision to engage me as writer and I saw it as a great opportunity to grow artistically,” Yovich said.
“This is an essential story for all Australians. Sadly, across this country, the issue of youth suicide has become normalised."
Brisbane Festival Artistic Director David Berthold said the world premiere – one of eight at this year’s Brisbane Festival – was a story about “embracing life, told with humour, poignancy and love”.
“This powerful new work, centred on an Aboriginal family dealing with the sadly common spectre of rural suicide, draws spectacular aerial work and video into a story of rare tenderness,” Berthold said.
“Deep down it asks: how should we deal with a traumatic past? Finally, there is solace and hope.”
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