Justin Fleming is a distinguished playwright with no shortage of stories under his belt. But when it came to Whiteley, the challenge wasn’t finding the story. It was deciding what to cut out.
Fleming focused on three clues to the extraordinary story of Brett Whiteley.
First, the dramatic way his career kicked off, as the youngest ever artist to sell to the Tate Gallery in Britain.
“Then there was the addiction. The inextricable link between the addiction and the art,” Fleming explains. “The attempts to sever or cure or repress the addiction, which immobilised his art.
“The third element is the wonderful bond with Wendy, right from the start.”
Fleming has constructed a story that draws on the places that Whiteley lived and worked: Sydney, London, Europe, New York, Bali and Fiji.
He looked for the moment when Whiteley’s art — and his story — really changed.
A powerful scene explores the artist’s fascination with the Christie murders, and the series of artworks he produced in response to the crimes.
A set composed of floor-to-ceiling digital screens make it possible to let Whiteley’s enormous portfolio tell part of his story.