In 1943, Eleanor’s epic flight across Japanese patrolled sea to Australia during WWII stands out as adventurous and heroic. Delighted to evade Winston Churchill in his meetings with her husband, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Eleanor confesses to Mary Alice that she dreads the official receptions in Australia. Artist Mary Alice who is married to Doc Herbert Evatt, Minister of External Affairs, tries to dissuade Eleanor from flying further as she solicits Eleanor’s assistance to guarantee Roosevelt’s war support to Australia, and Churchill’s help to check on her artist friend, Moya Dyring.
In 1948 in Paris, Mary Alice is visiting Picasso and Moya while Eleanor is chairing the committee developing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights at the UN and Doc Evatt is elected the first President of the General Assembly. Eleanor and Herbert have to work together but Herbert is avoiding her.
On the eve of the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, this performance reveals what these women contributed to political events and what they sacrificed to do this as it highlights Mary Alice’s importance to Australian modern art. The Evatts and the Roosevelts shared values and an understanding that art could advance equity, education and social justice.
This is one of a suite of events that celebrate and critically reflect on the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on 10 December 2018. Eleanor and Mary Alice is followed by a public address on ‘The Decline of Human Rights Protection in Australia’ by Gillian Triggs on 9 December and a public forum on ‘The Next 70 Years’ at the University of Sydney on 10 December.
Writer: Peta Tait
Director and Design: Deborah Leiser Moore
Performers: Sarah McNeill, Petra Kalive, Adi Sappir