About the play
Hollywood bombshell Mae West built her career on lookin’ good – walkin’ the walk and talkin’ the talk – while legendary photographer Diane Arbus was famous for finding beauty in the everyday. When Diane turns up at Mae’s glistening LA apartment in 1964 to take her portrait, tensions quickly flare. Mae’s version of herself is very different to the one Diane wants to catch on film. But whose version wins out when a master of illusion meets a master of truth?
Drawing on the infamous meeting between two extraordinary women, award-winning Australian playwright Stephen Sewell imagines what might have transpired creating a power play of sexuality and intrigue.
Melita Jurisic (The House of Bernarda Alba) takes on the role of the irrepressible Mae West, with Diana Glenn (The Slap) as the pioneering Diane Arbus in this world premiere production, directed by MTC’s Associate Director Sarah Goodes (The Children).
|Performance Type||Performance Date(s)|
|Audio Described||Saturday 16 March at 2pm
Tuesday 19 March at 6.30pm
|Tactile Tour||Tactile tour at 1pm prior to the Saturday 16 March performance|
|Saturday 23 March at 2pm|
'A subtle, tantalising cocktail of truth and fiction, Arbus and West goes down a treat and leaves one wanting more.'
'Sarah Goodes' production is sophisticated, thoughtful and convincing.'
'If you care about acting, you’ll be struck by the craft on display.'
'Sewell has taken a significant moment in the world of entertainment and refashioned it into a drama that sparkles and entertains, but also delves beneath the performative self to the selves beneath.'
Helpmann Award Nominations 2019
A tale of two feminists
Author and journalist Jenny Valentish reflects on the relationship between Diane Arbus and Mae West, and two vastly different views of the women's liberation movement.
Arbus & West on stage
Get a closer look at the world premiere production of Arbus & West.
The art of exposure
Mae West and Diane Arbus both had an enormous impact throughout the 20th century. However, their ideologies clashed drastically. Their meeting in 1964 inspired the creation of Stephen Sewell’s new play, Arbus & West.
Arbus & West programme
Learn more about Stephen Sewell's intriguing new work, Arbus & West in our production programme, which can be purchased at the theatre for $2 or downloaded for free online.