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A heart warming and poignant piece of musical storytelling based upon the oral history of the mothers, wives and daughters from the time of the soldier settlers in the Mallee through to modern times.
Show Essentials

Full Synopsis

Water Into Wine was developed around the stories told to me by woman who were married to or had a family connection with the ‘blockies’ – men who farmed the land around the Murray, particularly the winegrowing area around Mildura and Wentworth (including my own grandmother who was born and raised in Wentworth in the 1910s and 20s.) It begins with Irene A reflecting on aging which becomes a kitchen scene where we see how the stereotypical roles of men and women tend to continue playing out as the family prepares for a barbeque(COLESLAW) The following scene takes us back to World War One where the young Irene enters with a letter just as Irene B is sitting writing to her husband who is away at the war. Irene C tells the story of how she woke up to find her father had left for the war but imagines the scene of him saying goodbye to her as she slept (I’LL ALWAYS LOVE YOU IRENE) During the song Irene A takes over the narrative telling the story of her father’s death many years after the war. The next scene takes us into a contemporary kitchen scene. Irene B is sweeping, obviously tired and stressed when Barry comes in asking for a beer after his hard day on the land. In the ensuing scene we see how there is a disconnect between the two which the audience is given the sense that a similar scene has played out over generations. (GREEN) We next visit a scene between mother and daughter in which the timeless ‘when I was your age’ conversation plays out (THE GOOD OLD DAYS) The next situation is back in the contemporary home where Barry comes in from the land looking for his wife. She hasn’t come in from work yet and Barry voices his resentment of her not being available to his daughter. When Irene B comes in the situation quickly escalates into a fight where the stresses of their individual situations and inability to communicate with each other plays out (DAMAGED PEOPLE) In the final scene the three Irenes come together, reflecting the attitudes and opinions of their time of life and their experiences on the land as they move forward with a sense of resignation brightened by hope (GULLY DREAMS)

Cast Size: Small (Up to 10 performers)
Cast Type: Ensemble Cast
Dance Requirements: None

Show History

Originally commissioned for the Sunrise 21 Project in Mildura, Water Into Wine premiered in Mildura as part of its annual Arts Festival in February 2000. It had several rural productions in Victoria and South Australia 2003 – 8 and was produced by Magnormos at Theatreworks in Melbourne in 2004.