Australian playwright Suzie Miller, a mainstay of independent stages both in Australia and overseas, is having something of a breakthrough year. Two of Miller’s play are having their mainstage premières – Anna K and RBG, Miller’s ode to American jurist Ruth Bader Ginsberg (Sydney Theatre Company, October–December) – and her Griffin-award-winning play Prima Facie (2019) has been a sell-out smash in London’s West End and broadcast around the world as part of the prestigious NT Live initiative of Britain’s National Theatre.... (read more)
Early on in Jonny Hawkins’s Maureen: Harbinger of Death, Maureen invites an audience member to light her cigarette. The man she chooses, like most audience participants, hesitates. She beckons him with a wry smile. As he wanders on stage, she immediately notices his bare face. She presents him with a mask – coordinated perfectly to the colour of her room and attire – and remarks: ‘He has a chin that could have sunk the Titanic.’... (read more)
It’s the 1980s. Elsinore is a logging town, ruled by troubled royals. The King is dead, Hamlet is paranoid, and Ophelia is having some very strange dreams. Beyond the palace walls, a carnival approaches, the workers are rebelling, and the forest has grown hungry. This is the world of Because the Night, Malthouse’s bold return to performance after the shutdowns of 2020.... (read more)
Australians love a bogan in pop culture. Kath & Kim broke ratings records; The Castle regularly tops lists of favourite local films. This sense of affection for the working class becomes more complex off-screen, when Aussie battlers become ‘cashed-up bogans’ and turn Queensland into a Liberal state; when they start threatening middle-class values ...... (read more)
In the beginning there is the sound of deep breathing and heartbeat. Woman, the electric Jennifer Vuletic, lies writhing on a rock, splayed as if for sacrifice. Is she in a state of anguish or ecstasy? My Dearworthy Darling ushers us into a space fraught with uncertainty, the kind where questions beget more questions ...... (read more)
The idea of the outsider is, of course, a concept shared by all living beings; the jellyfish and the silverback gorilla alike have trained themselves to distrust a stranger. But there is something particular about the Australian suspicion of otherness, a ruddy and avuncular mask that hides an abiding, almost pathological, wariness...... (read more)
Goats are ubiquitous in the work of Patrick White. Start looking for them and they appear everywhere, staring out, page after page, with wise, tranquil eyes, pellets scattering like secrets into dust.
White bred goats, of course, Saanen goats, or tried to, while living at Castle Hill, and it is clear that the goat-mind made a profound impression. ‘One day I’m going to write a novel about goats with human beings to make it appear more “moral”,’ he wrote to his American publisher in 1953, ‘but only to enjoy the great luxury of writing about the goats.’ And he nearly did, two years later, when he wrote of a doomed explorer coming upon a desolate interior populated only by wild goats, descendants of a fabled Ur-goat:... (read more)