Sunday, October 31, 2021


After several extensions, all of them thwarted by lockdowns, Backstories, my solo show at Stephen McLaughlan Gallery, officially closes today.

Sunday, pictured above, takes its title from the song in the Pulitzer Prize winning musical drama, Sunday in the Park with George (1984, music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, book by James Lapine). The musical was inspired by the George Seurat painting, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte (1884-86). The song, Sunday, closes both its first and second acts. As some of you know, my partner Shane Jones and I are devotees of Sondheim’s work, as is Stephen McLaughlan. Accordingly, it seems doubly fitting to post the painting here, as a swansong to my own show. 

Stephen, Shane and I are all supporters of Watch This, a visionary Melbourne-based theatre company that specialises in Sondheim’s works. The company’s 2019 production of Sunday in the Park with George was unforgettable. I saw it twice and on both occasions, the song brought tears to my eyes.  

Coincidentally, Watch This held two preview events, including their 2019 season launch of Sunday in the Park with George at Stephen Mclaughlan Gallery. Pictured below is the company’s founder and first Artistic Director, Sonya Suares, who also co-directed the production. That’s Shane and I on the left in the following view. (Photos courtesy Sonya Suares via Stephen McLaughlan, reproduced with his kind permission).

We were delighted that Sonya Suares was able to join us at the gallery for the memorable Backstories Artist Celebration on Saturday afternoon, July 31, 2021. Sonya and I are pictured with Sunday in the last photo below. (Photo credit: Julie Keating). 

After several postponements, the next Watch This production, Into the Woods, will be performed early next year at Melbourne Meat Market, running from Saturday January 15 - Sunday January 23. While Sondheim’s extraordinary revisionist take on fairy tales didn’t directly inspire my own fairy tale-related works (including the anthology of feminist fairy tales, There was once)  it certainly added fuel to the fire. For further information about Into the Woods, including performance dates and times, visit Watch This HERE.

Before heading for Melbourne to farewell Backstories (see previous post) I’d like to extend one last thank you to Stephen McLaughlan, Shane Jones, the many people who visited the exhibition and those who have acquired works. Against all the odds, “on an ordinary Sunday”,* Backstories is finally having its fairy tale ending.

Backstories concludes today at 5pm.

*From Stephen Sondheim’s lyric for Sunday. To see the song performed in the original production of Sunday in the Park with George, go HERE.

Pictured top: Deborah Klein, Sunday, 2020, acrylic on linen, 40.5 x 30.5 cm. Photo creditTim Gresham.