Play explores fears, trauma, hope after the fires

Suhasini Seelin and Elizabeth O'Callaghan rehearsing The Colour of Fire. 165526 Picture: JESSE GRAHAM

By Jesse Graham

A theatre production based on the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires will be performed in Healesville and Warburton throughout March, bringing to life the winning entrant in a scriptwriting competition.
In 2014, Healesville’s Exit Theatre held a scriptwriting competition, open for residents in the Yarra Valley area.
The brief was simple – the piece had to relate to past or present issues in Healesville and the wider community.
Nadia Fragnito’s winning piece explored something close to Healesvillians’ hearts – the 2009 bushfires that decimated the state and neighbouring towns, and a fictionalised account of the very real feelings and trauma that residents near and far experienced in the aftermath.
The Colour of Fire explores the lives of three bushfire survivors – Eva, Jack and Heather – who meet at an anniversary, as well as the themes of reconciliation, forgiveness and hope in the face of trauma.
Eva, a painter, has internalised her guilt and uses it in her art; Jack is an ex-CFA volunteer who gives motivational speeches and Heather lost her pets in Ash Wednesday in the Dandenongs and now rescues and rehabilitates wildlife.
“When their lives intersect at an anniversary, they begin to discover that their pasts are more entangled than they first believed,” the play description reads.
“By showing the post-bushfire trauma and attempts to overcome the loss and the sadness, the play underlines the need to keep moving.”
Directed by John Wood, Kristof Kaczarek, Suhasini Seelin, Elizabeth O’Callaghan and Ben Freeland will take to the stage to perform the piece in Healesville at The Memo from 16 to 19 March.
The show will then head to Warburton, where it will be performed on 25 and 26 March.
Yarra Valley visual artists Paul Sonsie, Ali Griffin, Lynette Orzlowski, Raelene Sharp, Amanda Ruck, Jenny Reddin and Kate Baker also lent their skills to bring the performance to life, and the show is supported by the Yarra Ranges Council and Yarra Valley Arts Council.
A Q&A event will be held with Ms Fragnito and Mr Wood at the Healesville Library from 6.30pm on Tuesday 7 March.
Tickets to The Colour of Fire are $28, $24 for concession holders or $22 per person if a group of six or more people is booked at once.
Eastern Regional Library members can use the code “ERLCOF” for a discounted ticket price of $18.
For more information, call 1300 368 333, email or visit
To book for the Q&A event, visit