Black is the Colour

Black is the Colour
By Daniel Keene. Deafferent Theatre. Director – Jessica Moody. Arts House – North Melbourne Town Hall – 24 September – 1 October 2016

This is an awesome first production by Deafferent Theatre.  It is a wonderful opportunity for Deaf and hearing friends to come together to experience dialogue and interaction in Auslan performed by two expressly engaging and consummate performers.  Their work is crisp and vibrant and clearly supported with captions. 

As a hearing person it just takes a little time to get used to looking above the actors to, as quickly as possible, read the text and then be able to check into the beauty and clarity of the signing. And it is surprisingly satisfying to engage with a signed work that is partially buoyed with sound (

Black is the Colour is about a friendship, with at times hazy boundaries, between two women where one is trying, as best she can, to support the other to leave an abusive relationship.

The choice of this sensitive, rich and current text by writer Daniel Keene is a resonant and rewarding one.  It explores the profound difficulties undergone in trying to leave a relationship that is infused with physical, and therefore, emotional and psychological violence.

A hallmark of Keene’s work is the courage to look into the dark corners of social alienation and disenfranchisement.  In this instance he explores the experience of psychological instability that can be caused through enduring abuse in a relationship.

Anna Seymour is an experienced dancer, who in this work although not dancing, sensitively and explicitly lets the audience into the quandary her character Catherine is tussling with.  Hilary Fisher as Irene communicates her character’s deep concerns and persistence and also - sadly - ultimate disenchantment.

As I watched I started to think how amazing it would be if, at some point, the performers could leap into dance and even just momentarily transcend the need for spoken or signed words.  But maybe that could be a twist in Deafferent’s next project?

Suzanne Sandow


Catherine – Anna Seymour

Irene – Hilary Fisher

Creative Producer – Jessica Moody

Auslan Master – Sherrie Beaver

Production Manager and Creative Producer – Ilana Charnelle Gelbert

Lighting Design – John Collopy

Sound Design – shannyn,art

Caption Technician – Jessica Murray

Subscribe to our E-Newsletter, buy our latest print edition or find a Performing Arts book at Book Nook.