Overview

Synopsis

In her razor-edged new satire, Young Jean Lee strips back modern stereotypes for a hilarious examination of the luckiest social group in history.
View More

Cast & Creatives

View More

Reviews

Clever, bold and funny

Peril
View More

Synopsis

In her razor-edged new satire, Young Jean Lee strips back modern stereotypes for a hilarious examination of the luckiest social group in history.

Christmas is for family, and brothers Matt, Jake and Drew gather at their widowed father’s house for the usual observances of the holiday season, adding a few rituals of their own, such as playing politically-correct board games. But between the brotherly trash talk and the Chinese take-out, they wonder if being a straight white male brings so much privilege, how come things are not working out?

Director Sarah Giles takes on this hotly anticipated New York hit for its Australian premiere, featuring Hamish Michael (Janet King), Gareth Reeves (Mary: The Making of a Princess), John Gaden (Other Desert Cities), Luke Ryan (Yellow Moon) and Candy Bowers (But Wait… There’s More, Circus Oz).

Please note: the role of Matt will now be played by Gareth Reeves

Cast & Crew

John Gaden.jpg

John Gaden

Ed

Hamish Michael WEB.jpg

Hamish Michael

Drew

Gareth Reeves

Gareth Reeves

Matt

Luke Ryan

Luke Ryan

Jake

Candy Bowers.jpg

Candy Bowers

Stagehand-in-charge & Music Consultant

Sarah Giles

Sarah Giles

Director

Eugyeene Teh

Eugyeene Teh

Set & Costume Designer

Lisa Mibus

Lisa Mibus

Lighting Designer

David-Heinrich-WEB.jpg

David Heinrich

Sound Designer

Geraldine-Cook.png

Geraldine Cook-Dafner

Voice & Dialect Coach

Dominic Mercer

Dominic Mercer

Assistant Director

News & Reviews

Reviews

Clever, bold and funny

Peril
4
Beat

Engaging, acerbic and playful

Herald Sun
4
Time Out New York

Arguably one of the hottest playwrights in America right now.

National Public Radio

Venues

Inside Information

The playwright

Young Jean Lee

Young Jean Lee is a Korean-American playwright, director and filmmaker. Regarded as one of America’s most boundary-pushing playwrights, she has written and directed ten plays that have been produced by her not-for-profit company, Young Jean Lee’s Theater Company, of which she is also the Artistic Director. She has toured her work to more than 30 cities around the world. In 2012, she came to Australia to perform her existential cabaret We’re Gonna Die at Melbourne Festival. In 2010, her show The Shipment, about the politics of the black identity, was performed as part of Vivid LIVE at the Sydney Opera House.

Lee is known for subverting theatrical structures, and exploring and dissecting themes of race and identity. Lee has said that Straight White Men is her most naturalistic, linear play – but while it is a comfortable form it also contains it’s provocations, often in the most unexpected places. Straight White Men was the result of Lee asking herself, as she does when approaching all her work, ‘What is the last thing in the world I would want to do?’ Among the hard truths, however, expect plenty of laughs.

Straight White Men was co-commissioned by the Public Theater, the Wexner Center for the Arts at The Ohio State University, Center Theater Group, Steirischer Herbst Festival, Festival d’Automne à Paris, and Les spectacles vivants du Centre Pompidou, and was produced by Young Jean Lee’s Theater Company. The play makes its Australian premiere with this MTC production.

Read recent interviews with Young Jean Lee in The Age and The Saturday Paper.

Read Young Jean Lee’s full bio on her website

The cast

Luke Ryan, Gareth Reeves and Hamish Michael in rehearsals

Luke Ryan (Yellow Moon) plays Jake, a recently divorced father who works a corporate job and is perhaps just a little jaded about the state of the world – yet doesn’t want to give up the cushy lifestyle he’s built for himself.

Hamish Michael (Janet King) plays Drew, the youngest brother; he’s a writer, teacher and a self-actualiser, who is working towards his own happiness (with help from his therapist).

Gareth Reeves (Mary: The Making of a Princess) plays Matt, the eldest brother. Matt has moved back in with his elderly father to pay off his college debts. He is remembered as being quite the intelligent social justice warrior in his youth, but seems to have lost that fire and passion in recent times.

John Gaden (Other Desert Cities) plays Ed, the widowed father of the three men. He tries to keep the peace between his sons, and struggles to understand how he and his late wife’s teachings about privilege have warped into their sons’ current worldviews.

Candy Bowers (But Wait… There’s More, Circus Oz) plays the Stagehand-in-Charge. She frames the show and each scene.

The story

In her razor-edged new satire, Young Jean Lee strips back modern stereotypes for a hilarious examination of the luckiest social group in history.

Christmas is for family, and brothers Matt, Jake and Drew gather at their widowed father’s house for the usual observances of the holiday season, adding a few rituals of their own, such as playing politically-correct board games. It all seemed to be going alright until something happens to one of the men at the dinner table that sends the others spiralling into confusion. That’s when they start to question it all. Between the brotherly trash talk and the Chinese take-out, they wonder, if being a straight white male brings so much privilege, how come things are not working out?

Ultimately we are left wondering, as Matt asks his family, how can one really be useful in the world, as a straight, white man?

‘If I were a straight white man…’

Ahead of MTC’s production, we asked three writers who are not straight, white men what they would do if they were one for a day.

In this first piece, Michelle Law envisions what a typical day may be like, and in the second Bec Shaw considers what she would do if she woke up as a straight, white man.

Steven Oliver coming soon!

Events

2 May, 6pm: Free cast and artist Q&A

Join us at Arts Centre Melbourne, Fairfax Studio for a free discussion with the cast and creative teams.

24 May: Donor event – Post-show Dinner

There will be a post-show dinner for MTC Donors, following the 6.30pm performance. For more information about becoming an MTC Donor, email donations@mtc.com.au

Attendance Information

  • Contains coarse language and loud music. For further information, please call our box office on (03) 8688 0800.

  • FM Hearing Systems are available for this production
  • This production will be audio described on 31 May (6.30pm) and 4 June (4pm, with a tactile tour at 3pm) and captioned on 11 June (4pm).

Media Partner - 3RRR