Increased cynicism and apathy of Australian politics was the driving force for writer and director Darryl Emerson to pen Talking to the Future, together with a loss of faith in Democracy today, Democracy that started with Federation back in 1900 and has been the backbone of Australian politics ever since.
Being basically a lesson in history, much of Talking to the Future s founded on well known facts of how Deakin managed to be a force in helping to bring about Federation, although the several years of research by Emmerson did bring to light some interesting facts of Deakin’s life, particularly his spiritual beliefs and his political acumen.
Much was given to us in dialogue between Alfred Deakin (Marco Lawrence) and his daughter Ivy Deakin (Christina McLachlan). There could have been more emphasis and fluctuation in delivery as some of it tended to be monotone, lacking fervour.
However, the doubting Premier of the colony of New South Wales, George Reid (Ezra Bix) did with a commanding presence give us something to smile about as he exuberantly challenged the prospect of Federation and the ambitious Deakin.
Two cameo roles, Herbert Payne, a Labour follower and Walter Murdoch, son-in-law were appropriately played by Alex Thomson in their dealings with Deakin.
A minimalist set of a desk and bench seat was sufficient while costumes (Madeline Nibali) set the era well. A reflective composition by Brett Wake was mystiquely delivered on keyboard by Joe Bourke.
What is evident from this work is that politics has changed little from the 1900s. But we did learn a lot about Deakin’s many achievements, much of which we still benefit from today.
Talking to the Future was presented at La Mama Courthouse.
- Review by Graeme McCoubrie