Interview with A PLACE TO CALL HOME star MARTA DUSSELDORP, who plays Sarah. She talks about Ravensbrück concentration camp, acting with Helen Thompson and winning at the Logie Awards.
The Australian drama is set after World War 2, following one woman as she returns home to start a new life. Series 5 (which is now available on DVD) shows the world of wealth beginning to disappear, a young generation rising and economic changes affecting Ash Park.
The latest season shows a slight time-jump into the late ‘50s and early ‘60s. “We made slight changes in costume, hair and makeup - led by our beautiful heads of departments (Lisa Meagher and Wizzy Molineaux).”
“The subtle shifts in story and attitude meant we easily transitioned into the new time. Sarah was now a mother of a little boy, so her changes were more within. It’s a more softer Sarah, more intent on keeping David happy rather than herself.”
Sarah in the past was imprisoned at Ravensbruck concentration camp, before returning to Australia. Series 5 explores her meeting a woman (Gerda) from the camp, who tortured Sarah and her friends.
“I had done a lot of research about Ravensbruck and the holocaust. Her whole introduction was through the lens of her past, and what secrets she was holding underneath her calm exterior.”
“The scene with Gerda was a natural progression for Sarah. It was such an important moment and the fact she showed some mercy, allowed Sarah to let go of any resentment of that women and her time being imprisoned.”
Gerda (a former Nazi) is performed by Helen Thompson. “She is a very fine and fierce actress. Helen makes incredible choices and has a bravery that I admire.”
“As soon as I read it, I knew Helen was right for the role – so I suggested her to the production. She auditioned and took their breath away.”
In a previous interview, Bevan Lee described the show as telling a bold, rich, strong and dynamic story. Marta heaped praise on the star. “Season 5 is one of Bevan’s best yet. He works alongside the glorious Katherine Thomson (show Script Producer). Together they weave and play in a magical space.”
Meanwhile Dusseldorp has been nominated for numerous Logie Award acclaims, along with the show itself winning the Most Outstanding Drama Series. “That award for Season 4 was so magnificent! It’s peer voted, so was very special to all of us.”
“Bevan Lee deserves much acclaim. I think the audience like the show because it talks about the difficult subjects that exist in any society, but also allows them to see people can be good and kind. Qualities we need more of in this current world mood.”
So what’s next in 2018? “I am now shooting Season 6 of the show and then I rehearse A Doll’s House Part 2 for the Melbourne Company.”
“The play was written by an American playwright called Lucas Hnath and is a clever, touching and entertaining tale set 15 years after Nora (from Ibsen’s original) walks out of her family home. It is current and electric.”
Telly Binge spoke to Marta Dusseldorp in March 2018. Follow her on Twitter for updates.