A blank sheet and a black crayon

By Myron My

In Waking Up Dead, writer Trudy Hellier explores what happens to a woman when her husband dies in an unexpected and shocking way, only then to discover he was also leading a double life.

With direction from Susie Dee, Caroline Lee succeeds in captivating our attention with her portrayal of the grieving woman. Her fragility is evident throughout and you can see her slowly unraveling as she recalls moments of her life with her husband, leading up to that fatal moment and beyond.

Caroline Lee in Waking Up Dead_Photo Credit – Andy TurnerHer dialogue is delivered earnestly and from the heart, and Hellier has created a script that really captures the emotions and reactions a person feels when not only someone they love dies, but also someone they love turns out to not be who they thought they were. Ian Moorhead’s sound design is used effectively with interspersed sound bites throughout Waking Up Dead. TV news reports and police interviews all point to the inevitable and add more despair to Lee’s character’s story.

The set design by Callum Morton is simple yet demanding of our interest – it comprises of a single white sheet of paper that rolls down a wall and onto the floor upon which Lee then draws in her bedroom and its furniture (including a desk, bed and bookshelves) with a black crayon. As her memory becomes more confused and in turn, becomes more agitated and frail, so does the appearance of her room as she rubs things off and smudges things out.

Waking Up Dead is a beautiful production and exploration of what it is to grieve and lose someone you love and how at the end of the day, we can only ever put faith in our memories to remind us of the people in our lives.

Venue: fortyfivedownstairs, 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
Season: Until 14 September | Tues- Sat 8:00pm, Sun 5pm
Tickets: $35 Full | $25 Conc
Bookings: or 9662 9966