by Patrick van der Werf
Photo: Robert McFarlane

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by Patrick van der Werf

Molly Kaufman is taking in a new boarder, Sam, a young man infected with a lust for life, dreaming of freedom and a car. Molly's son, Jake, has been witness to intense betrayal and horror in his childhood; his mother is still a haunted woman. Penny, who is drawn into their lives, wakes up each morning to evil standing at the foot of her bed.

Presence is a contemporary allegory about young people's struggles to overcome their fears in a daunting world. The lives of these intensely flawed but lovable characters cross in the shared confines of the boarding house, but they also inhabit the complex region of each other's inner worlds and fears.

Each character crosses riveting dramatic territory in the search for the presence of the loving other. This is a play that will locate, in the midst of darkness, a compelling light... in the heart of 'presence', a glaring absence.

Winner of Taffy Davis Memorial Award for Best New Play.

"Such a gripping exploration of the human condition recalls the internal landscapes of Patrick White and Samuel Beckett. Patrick Van Der Werf has crafted a moving study of isolation and the exquisite salvage located in love's union."—Ros Horin, Artistic Director, Griffin Theatre

"Presence is an impressive effort. It explores themes of alienation. isolation and abandonment in a natural and poetic manner... The play's rambunctious tone and brittle wit makes its glimpses of tender, wry affection all the more poignant."—Bryce Hallett, Sydney Morning Herald

This title appears in:

Griffin Award for New Australian Playwriting (2002 winner)

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