Four Larks, the young theatre collective based in Brunswick, Melbourne, have a well-earned reputation for ambitious adaptations. Having tackled ‘Peer Gynt’, ‘Alice in Wonderland’, ‘The Master and Margarita’ and the Orpheus myth in the past, the collective has become highly adept at transforming its former auto repair shop into all manner of complex literary spaces. Critics have praised Four Larks for their operatic spectacles and ‘junkyard’ aesthetic that eschews twee romanticism in favour of thrilling theatrical bricolage. Directed by Mat Sweeney, Sebastian Peters-Lazaro and Jesse Rasmussen, Four Larks recently presented their original adaptation of Flaubert’s ‘The Temptation of St Antony’, a novel written in play-like form that took French literature’s master craftsman twenty-five years to write. The novel presents the reader with so many challenges that, according to Foucault, its publication served to ‘extend the space that existing books can occupy’. Just as the title refers to a heroic test of faith, this production represents the most arduous trial yet to be confronted by Four Larks.
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