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A Priest in the Family

Directed by Anni Finsterer and Peter Humble 

Based on a short story by Colm Toíbín
Screenplay by Peter Humble
Produced by Anni Finsterer and Peter Humble 
Cinematography by Sean Morri


Lynette Curran as Molly
Susie Porter
Gillian Jones
Lisa Hensley
Andrew Benson
Tim Ailwood


Based on the short story by the acclaimed Irish novelist Colm Toíbín, A Priest in the Family is a simply told tale of a mother facing the ultimate disgrace and no one, nother family nor friends, seems quite sure how to tell her that her son, a priest, is anaccused paedophile.

Molly, a vigorous Australian mother in her late 70s, tries to keep up with the changing times of her grandchildren by mastering the internet, but she is not entirely sure of the traditions she has inherited; in particular, the power of prayer. If Molly finds out that her son Frank, a local parish priest, is about to go on trial for the sexualabuse of former students, how will she react, and will the tragic circumstances allow for any kind of reconciliation?

Tóibín’s masterful writing, adapted for the screen with great sensitivity, offers a painful glimpse into the consequences of institutional child abuse from a perspective seldom taken in to account.

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Developed for Company B’s Open House Season in 1994 with later financial support from PLAYWORKS

Written, Directed, Designed and Performed by Anni Finsterer (as Norm and Violetta) 
Kathryn Brownhill (on Violin) 
Art work by Gavin Barber

Gender Rituals music Score by Mark Finsterer
Violin played and scored by Kate Connor of local gypsy improvisation band ADANA


GRAVEGNOMES is a gothic black comedy featuring an intensity in it’s stark psychological realism. This story is centered on an endearing maniacal protagonist whose distorted yearning for love ends in a violent rape and death. The graveyard, where this play is set, will become the physical and psychological environment that enacts the horror of one man’s tormented imagination and evocation of his past life as he unveils sexual, emotional neediness whilst at the same time celebrating female embodiment and love.

Gravegnomes is a play about the cycle of deprivation and abuse. Norm’s abuse of his physical power over Violetta is the currency by which he himself has been educated.  The revelation of his psychological torment reveals the fact that both the victims and the perpetrators of crime have both been failed. It examines the notion of social justice and identifies in this man’s life, the origins of his abuse and looks to the life long struggle he will endure to break the cycle of violence.

This one-person show is dependant on bold physicality to express the life of the characters, both vocally and physically in a rhythmic poetic style. This piece is bought to life with a gestic language inspired by the physicality of the Greek mythological gods and goddesses. It is here that we are introduced to the eros and love aspect of text, for Norm’s loveless history manifests in a physicality and the embrace of pleasure which is joyful, erotic and inclusive of the idea of transformation – a continual reaching for clarity of thought and feeling.

The text is interleaved and punctuated by the violin. The score describes the yearning of the characters desire for love and is sharply contrasted with the violent staccato of the attack. It also supports the images woven into the text; from the amorous love making with Aphrodite to the wildly escalating mayhem of the pin-ball machine. 

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More that Anni has directed...


As a Director, Anni directed and co-produced, Mental Fiction: a series of short films made by Black Dog Institute Volunteers, screened for dignitaries and consumers of mental health for Mental health week 2014. 


She co-directed and co-produced the 30 minute film, A Priest in the Family, financed by the Diocese of Broken Bay and for St Kilda Film Festival Mardi Gras Film Festival 2015. 


For theatre 


  • The Shoehorn Sonata by John Misto.

  • Stolen by Jane Harrison for the Education Program at Parramatta Riverside.

  • Happiness is a Place called School for Senior Showcase at Newtown High School of the Performing Arts.

  • Dario Fo's Tale of a Tiger, East by Steven Berkoff and for La Mama Theatre.

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