'By far, the best touring show to make it to the shire interior, having played to packed houses at the inaugural Women's Festival. If you missed this one before, don't make the repeat error. TRULY STIRRING!'
Byron Shire Echo
'DIFFICULTWOMEN' is one of the most brilliant and powerful shows you're likely to see this year!'
Northern River's Echo
'A performance that left the audience almost BREATHLESS!'
THE PALMERSTON NORTH NEWS
'Magnificent among them all was FRIDA KAHLO! The sufferings of her life - her physical mutilations and spiritual torments - are confronted with such crazy, blazing humour, it is heartbreaking.'
THE EDINBURGH SCOTSMAN
DIFFICULTWOMEN has been performing concerts in the Australian and International Art and Folk Festivals since its inception in 1993. Using the acting, narrating and singing skills of LIN VAN HEK and the musical and arranging talents of multi-instrumentalist, JOE DOLCE, DIFFICULTWOMEN brings to life on stage, both in concert and stage format, some of our most important and controversial women artists, women who were labelled difficult in their day due to their willingness to go against the accepted norm for what it meant to be a female artist.
DIFFICULTWOMEN has been a pioneering force since the mid-90s, presenting FRIDA KAHLO, SYLVIA PLATH, and VIRGINIA WOOLF to audiences almost a decade before the film producers of Hollywood discovered them. In addition to these now well-known women artists, DIFFICULTWOMEN also brings women to the stage who still remain unknown or marginalized: Australian pioneer feminist LOUSIA LAWSON, the mother of Henry Lawson, who first published her son's poetry and founded a newspaper totally run by women in the 1890's, THE DAWN, operating it successfully for 15 years. African-American slave pioneers HARRIET TUBMAN, who organized the Underground Railroad, and SOJOURNER TRUTH, who combined freedom for women with freedom for slaves and was a fierce and innovative orator, even thought she could neither read nor write. MEMPHIS MINNIE, the first electric guitar player, who defeated Chicagoan, BIG BILL BROOZNEY, in The Great Male vs Female Guitar Contest, in Chicago. French Sculptor CAMILLE CLAUDEL, Russian diarist SONYA TOLSTOI, New Zealand writer KATHERINE MANSFIELD; American writers GERTRUDE STEIN and ALICE B TOKLAS, and many others. Joe and Lin have also forged a beautiful harmony blend from 25 years of singing together and have recorded several CDs, the most recent, FLOWER, selected as a Top Ten Release of the Year by Rhythms Magazine.
LIN VAN HEK, an acclaimed Australian author, was born and raised in Melbourne. She lived for many years in India and Belgium. She was the lead singer of the electro-dance band, SKIN THE WIG, in the 80s, and a song she wrote and sang was part of the first TERMINATOR film score in the US. She recorded a solo CD River of Life, featuring songs of New Zealand writer, Kath Tait. She has published two novels: The Hanging Girl, and The Ballad of Siddy Church, and has just completed her third, Katherine Mansfield's Black Paper Fan, as well as several books of short stories. She is a previous winner of the Melbourne Age Short Story Contest. Lin is also a respected fashion designer, with her own label, LIN VAN HEK DESIGN, working in collaboration with women entrepreneurs in the mountain villages of North Vietnam. (website.)
JOE DOLCE has been a professional musician, composer, poet and entertainer for over 35 years. (website).
Lin and Joe's common love for words and music, and the extraordinary difficult women that have inspired them, led them to develop this unique way of combining literature and music, to create something quite special, intimate and entertaining.
'A work to be cherished by humanists everywhere.'
THE MELBOURNE AGE
'DIFFICULTWOMEN's message is as important as ever.'
GREEN LEFT WEEKLY
'DIFFICULTWOMEN's most memorable quality is sheer camaraderie. The two performers throw themselves into their show with conviction and a great deal of warmth. Their songs, monologues and often amusing anecdotes took the chill off the art gallery auditorium's rather sterile atmosphere. VAN HEK'S account of her response to a drunken heckler was particularly engaging: she simply sang him a ferocious a Capella song she had picked up on her travels. We couldn't help but share in her glee - the fierce joy of being a DIFFICULT WOMAN had never been more evident.'
THE NEW ZEALAND HERALD
'VAN HEK's seemingly chameleon attributes enable her to capture the essence of each character flawlessly . . .'DIFFICULTWOMEN is poignant and lyrical. It revives our faith in the virtues of personal expression under extreme pressure.'
THE MELBOURNE STAR OBSERVER
Feb 28th 2012
A ROOM OF ONE'S OWN (excerpt)
Lin van Hek reads from Virginia Woolf's visionary work including the moving Shakespeare's Sister.