Fresh from an acclaimed season at the New York, Edinburgh & Adelaide Fringe, The Day the Sky Turned Black returns to Edinburgh as part of Assembly's 'Best of the Sydney Fringe' season. Written and performed by Ali Kennedy Scott, the play chronicles the poignant stories of everyday heroes who fought the ‘Black Saturday’ bushfires, now known as Australia’s greatest natural disaster.
As fires sweep through the tinder dry country at speed, residents prepare for the usual summer bushfire season, unaware of the magnitude of the coming fires. By day’s end, 173 people are dead, whole towns are decimated. By week’s end, over a million acres of land are razed to the ground and arson is suspected.
Through first person narrative, intermixed with on-the spot news reports, The Day the Sky Turned Black follows the lives of five characters; Kerry, Mabel, Heidi, Gillian and six year-old Aiden who loves nothing better than doing tricks on his BMX and smushing caramellos into yummy chocolate balls.
Inspired by interviews with survivors, journalists and a global arson expert, the play charts each character’s personal journey from before the fire’s arrival, to their return home and the rebuilding of their lives. Their inspirational stories show the strength and courage of the human spirit when pitted against Mother Nature at her worst.
This solo show was conceived while Ali was studying at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. There, reactions to the fires ranged from concern to criticism, and even apathy. These responses motivated Ali to set the record straight and tell the true story of these extraordinary ‘ordinary’ Australians.
Directed by Adrian Barnes, with original music by Pat Wilson - an “expert team” (Adelaide Advertiser)- The Day the Sky Turned Black is an uplifting work, with unexpected humour and tremendous tenderness… a powerful tribute to courage, humour amidst adversity and hope.
The Day the Sky Turned Black is a multi-award winning drama. It won 'People's Choice' for favourite show at the Sydney Fringe, 'Excellence in Solo Performance' at the New York Fringe, An award for excellence at the Sydney Fringe and was nominated for Best theatre show at fringe World Perth.