Our March picks for community theatre
24 Mar 2015
John Kachoyan - AustralianPlays.org Literary Manager
The two texts that I have chosen for March are both by women: one, Honour by the phenomenally talented Joanna Murray-Smith, is over twenty years old now, but has become a staple of the Australian repertoire, and the other, Caress/Ache by Sydney playwright Suzie Miller, has just received its Australian premiere at the Griffin in Kings Cross.
Suzie Miller’s Caress/Ache has been nearly ten years in the making. In the lead-up to the execution of young Australian Nguyen Tuong Van in Singapore following a conviction for drug trafficking (in 2005), the Singaporean government asserted its rule that the young man could not be hugged or hug his desperate mother before his death. Miller has taken this rule, and her complicated response to it, as the catalyst for a delicate and moving exploration of the potential for both the intimacy and brutality of touch. In her words:
“Grappling with ideas such as these took me on a journey about what touch is in its many forms – an innate sensory element and expression of love and desire, its intense power for cruelty and abuse, and how interweaved such things can be. So too was I exploring the notion of being ‘touched’ by moments, poetry and art.”
Honour by Joanna Murray-Smith is a small cast drama set around a family of three, which the husband (Gus), after many years of marriage, decides to leave for a much younger woman. It contains all of Murray-Smith’s trademarks: sharp insight, keen psychology, tight dialogue and an utterly human account of the loss and devastation such actions generate. It has three remarkable roles for women (and a cracker for a man as well) and has enjoyed huge success both here and overseas.
Tom Healey, Literary Manager