ABOUT THE PRODUCTION CONTENT GUIDE

Each play description below indicates whether there are acts, language or behaviour that may have an impact on some audience members (for example, violence, sex, language, drug use or nudity) and whether those occasions are made reference to, described or enacted.

Please note: the following information also contains ‘spoilers’ which may impact on your experience of the production.

Sexual Misconduct of the Middle Classes

Sexual Misconduct of the Middle Classes
by Hannah Moscovitch
Directed by Petra Kalive

Jon is a prize-winning novelist who wants more out life, most especially some degree of certainty when it comes to ongoing wealth and fame, not to mention just a shot at happiness. His third marriage is on the rocks and he’s moved to a rental property to ride out the storm; but also to give himself time to complete his new novel about the frontier timber industry at the turn of the last century. He’s also picked up some teaching at a good university.

He likes teaching, but finds most of the students dull, until he sees a young woman in a red coat - she’s sparky, ambitious, and imaginative and one afternoon, locks herself out of her place, which is just across the street from his.

Jon relents to an affair with 18 year-old Annie [described] wracking him with both guilt and joy; along with a touch of fear — he could be fired should she complain to University authorities. There are scenes that depict “over the clothes” (kissing, touching) sexual relations between them but this does not go for long in any of the three to four moments, and much more is insinuated than is depicted.

A few months later when his estranged wife wants to meet, he is caught completely wrong-footed — expecting her to demand a divorce and reprimand him for his appalling behaviour, she instead tells him that she’s pregnant with their baby and wants them to get back together.

Annie takes the break-up well; though 5 years later she meets him, filled with guilt, shame and recriminations.

Ten years on she sees him again, and she is a confident, award-winning playwright. Indeed it slowly dawns on us, and him, that she has written this whole evening’s encounter, exposing him and his narcissism to us, leaving him diminished and powerless, at her mercy. This is in fact her story, her portrait of a cruel, careless man, revealing the truth of her struggle, a fight that ultimately leaves him impaled on his own abuse of his power and privilege.

Contains frequent coarse language, sexual references, mature themes and the use of theatrical haze.

  • Mature themes – themes relating to abuse of power and privilege and emotional manipulation.
  • Mature themes – references to drug use.
  • Mature themes – references to grooming behaviour

Recommended for ages 18+
Not recommended for schools

Berlin

Berlin
By Joanna Murray-Smith
Directed by Iain Sinclair

Please note this is a new work and the content is subject to change right up to the performance season. This guide will be updated as changes occur.

Charlotte has invited Tom to crash on her couch for the night. Bartender by night and poet by day, this Berliner has taken pity on an Aussie backpacker with the misfortune to be kicked out of his overbooked hostel.

They met at her bar — one of Berlin’s uber-cool venues — and have just arrived at her bohemian apartment, all shabby chic with one ridiculously large reproduction of a painting by John Constable dominating a wall. They drink, share secrets, flirt and dance around their attraction, until Charlotte takes the reins and kisses Tom.

Later — it is clear that they have now slept together — he is awake and alone and answers a call, terminating it moments later. It was a bad time. Something has shifted. Now he’s romantic with Charlotte, he wants the two of them to flee the apartment, their ‘former’ lives and start it all again, this very second. Charlotte laughs him off — surely coffee is fine for now? Their attraction and the beginnings of what neither can quite believe is love overrides any awkwardness, tension or confusion.

The door buzzer then punctures their bliss. Tom reveals that they didn’t meet by accident. He’s the great-grandson of a Jewish art collector and knows that the Constable is real — that Charlotte’s great-grandfather bought it for a pittance during the Holocaust, having been taken from his family collection. He has come to right the wrongs of the past.

They argue — are they responsible for the sins of their fathers? And if so, how far back? Can we ever really escape the past, do we want to? During this debate, there are references to the Holocaust and related events, such as the gas chambers, Jewish families being taken away to camps and Babbelplatz. [described]

Incomprehension morphs into enmity and hatred, yet still Charlotte abandons the painting and sends Tom out into the darkness of pre-dawn Berlin. Alone, Charlotte digs into a drawer, bringing out a tiny, perfect Klimt. She rushes to her window as the first rays of sun break through it, and calls out to Tom.

Contains coarse language, sexual references, mature historical themes and the use of e-cigarettes.

  • Mature historical themes – references to the holocaust are mentioned throughout the play, but particularly in the final third.

Recommended for:
ages 16+

Year 11+

The Lifespan of a Fact

The Lifespan of a Fact
By Jeremy Kareken & David Murrell and Gordon Farrell
Directed by Petra Kalive

Noted essayist John D’Agata has delivered an article for a high-end literary magazine. The article, on suicide culture in Vegas, uses the jumping suicide of 15-year-old Levi Presley as its inciting incident – and the magazine’s editor, Emily, bumps another piece for this important story to run ASAP. It’s that good. They just need some facts checked and then it can run in their next issue.

Jim the intern is volunteered as the fact-checker. Emily is happy with Jim’s suitability – he’s young and hungry, Harvard educated, and his immediate superior rates him as trustworthy and talented. In his interview with Emily, he promises to even write a fact-checking program that’s better than a Google search (he has degrees in English and Computer Programming). Emily warns Jim that John does sometimes take liberties in his writing. Jim has until next at Monday 9am to turn it in, and it’s now Wednesday night. He leaves her office confident.

Jim returns almost immediately needing help. He acknowledges that John’s article is literate, eloquent and beautiful but it is riddled with errors, starting with the second clause of the very first sentence. Emily suggests that he talk directly with John about it.

Jim emails John and inadvertently insults him, referring to the ‘article’ and not the ‘essay’. John explains that Emily has just given Jim busy-work – he is just an intern – and, as far as the essay goes, Jim is almost utterly irrelevant to the whole process. Jim complains again to Emily: the essay really is strewn with errors. But she sides with John, telling Jim that he needs to figure out what’s important and what’s not.

Later, John calls Emily to complain again about Jim, who has flown to John’s place in Vegas to check out his sources on the ground and run through the corrections in person! Emily orders Jim to leave at once and apologises to John. But Jim stays and continues with the pernickety questions about accuracy, and John continues to bat them away on the grounds of ‘story’, ‘rhythm’ and ‘feel’.

Emily flies out to referee but the men are already at each other’s throats, literally, as she arrives [John’s strangling of Jim is ENACTED]. Breaking up the fight, Jim nevertheless estimates that 82% of the essay is accurate so she proposes that they get to 90% and be done with it. They parse the essay, disputed fact by disputed fact, and continue to bicker about the value of truth and the nature of Levi’s suicide and who saw it [DESCRIBED]. Jim cannot believe that facts are negotiable. John calls Jim ‘a cancer’. It’s not going well. John’s interested in the bigger truth – he’s a lyric essayist – not accuracy or vérité.

Jim eventually reveals that he has finally worked out John, his evasiveness and the entire article: there was no Levi Presley, no suicide, no truth. It’s all opinion, metaphor, invention and over-reach. The printing company is about to call Emily about going to print – it’s now Monday 9am – and she does not know who to believe. It’s now or never. The phone rings and rings.

This production contains coarse language, references to suicide, choreographed violence and mature themes.

Recommended for ages 14+ / Year 9+

The Truth

The Truth
By Florian Zeller (transl. by Christopher Hampton)
Directed by Sarah Giles

Paris, now: Alice wants to spend more time with Michel or she will break-off their recent extra-marital ‘arrangement’. Michel, cancelling a work meeting that very afternoon in order to see her, also wants their affair to continue and, to further demonstrate his feelings, arranges a special couple of days for them to get away. He tells his wife, Laurence, that he has a work trip. Laurence reminds Michel that their daughter’s conceptual art exhibition – of soiled underpants – is in their family diary, meaning that his intended dates away won’t work. Plus, why did he cancel his meeting that afternoon? Michel denies that he did but Laurence knows Michel is lying; indeed his business partner even asked her about Michel’s supposed ill-health. Michel is shocked – how dare Laurence assert that he’s lying?! Michel reveals that he was not ill but instead with his best-friend Paul. Laurence finds that odd because Paul called their house that afternoon looking for him. Impossible! Michel explains it away: since Paul has lost his job he has been depressed, erratic, hence Michel’s visit to him. Poor Paul is very delicate. Laurence stands by her story: Paul did call. Michel goes very pale. Laurence laughs, she was just testing his alibi – but why have they stopped making love?

Later, away on their two-night tryst, Alice and Michel both receive calls from their suspicious spouses – Michel even has to ‘play’ Alice’s aged aunty to authenticate Alice’s fictional whereabouts. Alice however, wracked by guilt, tells Michel that she can no longer lie to their respective spouses. Michel, in an attempt to calm her down, tells her how it’s actually a better truth to live their convenient lie. Alice defends the truth: it must be told, they must come clean! For Michel, however, the truth is a nightmare and will auger the end of civilisation. Still, Alice may yet tell her husband, Paul, the truth.

While playing their regular tennis game, Paul comments to Michel that he looks poorly and maybe he should take some days off. A couple of days out of town might be a tonic perhaps? What? Is Paul joking?? Paul also comments that his wife, Alice, looks poorly too – perhaps she should take some days away as well. Paul goes further: perhaps Alice is having an affair? Paul recalls how just last week, when Alice was meant to be at her aunt’s house, some bastard did a risible impersonation of her aunt! Where was she really? The fool she was with did a preposterous imitation of the aunt! Paul declares he will confront Alice about it. Michel counters that her ‘adventure’, if it even happened, will inevitably peter out.

Michel then dashes immediately to see Alice and tell her that Paul knows the truth! They must stop their affair. Too late: she has already told Paul the truth herself. Michel is furious: Paul has said nothing to him. He’s a liar! How dare Paul be so presumptuous? Alice explains that Paul’s known about the affair for months. Michel cannot believe that his best friend has kept his knowledge about his affair with his best friend’s wife a secret, deceiving him this whole time. Michel confronts Paul. Paul is nonplussed – Laurence warned him that Michel was on his way – but Michel is filled with rage. Laurence also knew and was play-acting too? Paul figures that it was revenge, for his and Laurence’s two-year affair.

Michel is stunned – his best friend is sleeping with his wife?! Paul is surprised at Michel’s naiveté. Alice wasn’t nearly as childish about it as Michel is being. Michel cannot believe it: Alice knew as well?! In fact, Paul explains, all three have had a number of dinners discussing their criss-crossing affairs. They kept it from Michel because they love him dearly.

Michel rushes to confront his wife, Laurence. She denies it all. Dinners, what dinners? Michel wonders: is he the only honest man in Paris? Laurence explains that she never had an affair with Paul, but she now knows about Michel’s affair with Alice. Paul lied to Michel? Again? Later, when Michel explains to Laurence that Paul and Alice will be moving to Sweden, putting an end to his affair with Alice once and for all, Laurence begins to cry. Is it that she will miss Paul perhaps? No. Well, at least from now on there will be no more lies …

This production contains mature themes, some coarse language and sexual references.

Recommended for ages 16+ / Year 11+

Cyrano

Cyrano
By Virginia Gay after Edmond Rostand
Directed by Sarah Goodes

Please note this is a new work and the content is subject to change. This guide will be updated as changes occur.

It starts in a theatre, with an audience waiting for a show to begin. We meet our chorus members, 12 and 3, who discuss how this version of Cyrano will commence. With a fight! No. The balcony scene? No. Where are the ruffs and britches? Well, this is not Cyrano as you know it.

We are first introduced to the central character, Cyrano, the most interesting person in any room. She’s fierce, an incredible wordsmith with wit renowned citywide; she’s the life of all the best parties, arrogant, kind to children but a ruthless fighter. She works twice as hard and runs twice as fast as any of the pretty young things can, because she has a challenge. It’s something she was born with, something she can’t control, something that people, if they don’t know her, mock. She's the one with the... don't say it... the nose.

Enter Roxanne, the new girl in town. She’s a student, hungry for knowledge, with a penchant for poetry and a way with words, just like Cyrano. Cyrano, 1, 2 and 3 discuss how this version will go. Are Cyrano and Roxanne childhood friends like in the classic tale, or do they meet afresh right now? Cyrano chooses the latter and a friendship blossoms.

Cyrano falls deeply in love with the smart, kind and beautiful Roxanne. She is too ashamed to admit it though - Roxanne could never love this body, right?

Next, we meet Yan. The new boy. All-brawn-and-no brains Yan, who's dumbstruck around Roxanne.

Roxanne confides in Cyrano that she adores Yan, this gloriously handsome new soldier, despite them not having said a word to each other. 

Yan also confides in Cyrano: he adores Roxanne, but he has no words around her. Cyrano, though, has words: so many breathtaking, poetic, funny, intimate words. Can she help Yan? With Cyrano's words and Yan's body, can they create the perfect lover?

Cyrano helps Yan woo Roxanne on her balcony - she wants to hear her value in his words - until both Yan and Roxanne's physical attraction gives in and Yan goes up to Roxanne. A passionate love scene ensues [gestures enacted] as Cyrano sits under the balcony agonising over their three-way love affair.

The next day, Roxanne confides in Cyrano about her prosaic sexual encounter with Yan. But 'a woman needs verse, flow, poetry' - the fire went out for Roxanne when Yan couldn't communicate those perfect words from the night before. Roxanne just wants to feel like it does when she's with Cyrano.

Cyrano is gutted. However Yan is equally disappointed. He knows Roxanne doesn't want him, at least not the real him. They discuss how this story is supposed to go from here. Traditionally, they go to war and never return. But what about a happy ending?

Eventually Roxanne discovers that Cyrano was behind Yan's perfect words - an unfortunate slip of the tongue, and a laugh, give Cyrano away. Roxanne is furious, she feels betrayed and manipulated, but so does Cyrano. They argue and Roxanne storms out, leaving Cyrano with 1, 2 and 3 to discuss how she can salvage the situation. 

Cyrano wants to run up a flag and surrender. She starts clearing up the set and demands to be left alone. As 1, 2 and 3 begin to leave, 3 launches into an inspiring tirade to help Cyrano out of her self-pity. She needs a gesture, physical poetry, to win back Roxanne. This is her chance at a happy ending.

The whole set is transformed into a glittering, sparkling party under Roxanne's balcony, a beautiful mess of physical poetry, that lures Roxanne down from her balcony and they kiss. 

We are left with Roxanne and Cyrano sitting entwined among the mess of the stage, talking, dreaming, imagining their future together. They'll go to every restaurant in the city and try all the food, marvel at art in Amsterdam, share meals with friends in their garden, text each other photos of their afternoon tea, discuss algebra and the middle east, drink mimosas in Cuba, listen to the world pootling on outside their window...

 Contains coarse language, sexual references, mature themes, theatrical haze and loud noises.

  • Coarse language - Frequently used throughout the play by all characters
  • Theatrical haze - Used throughout the production
  • Loud noises - occurs in the final scene when a streamer canon unexpectedly launches streamers onto the stage and audience.

Recommended for ages 15+ / Year 10+

Sunday

Sunday
By Anthony Weigh
Directed by Sarah Goodes

Please note this is a new work and the content is subject to change prior to the performance season. This guide will be updated as changes occur.

It’s 1959 and Sunday Reed, a perceptive observer of fine art, looks at a painting. She sees not an English green but a distinctive Australian green; a shade more yellow than green. She also sees their house, Heide, by the river, as well as a rose bush and a woman. Was the artist by the river, she wonders, when he painted it? Footsteps disturb her reverie – it’s Sweeney, 13, and he’s running with a knife. Her son is swearing gleefully, copying his stepdad’s ‘blue’ mouth. He must stop swearing, she thinks, though maybe ‘Christ’s sake’ is alright since she and husband John are atheists; they believe in love, not God.

The painting is about to be packed up and taken away (hence the knife, for the string). Sunday asks Sweeney what he sees. Their house, Heide, he replies … but it can’t be their house because there’s a bush in it that’s not there; and, even weirder, there’s a lady in the bush. Sweeney knows who painted it and that the artist carried him back to the house on his shoulders when Sunday was in the river in her dress. Sunday says he can’t possibly remember that, as he was too young [a suicide attempt is alluded to more than described].

Sweeney leaves, joyfully swearing, and Sunday hears knocking. It’s John and it’s now 1930, and John Reed asks Sunday to marry him. She agrees, they then have their first conversation – they’re both stylish, wicked and witty. Soon, it’s 1934 and John has impulsively bought a little house on a farm on Melbourne’s north eastern outskirts. Sunday is glad to be able to see the Yarra but it’s in the sticks and it’s barren. John imagines that it will become a beacon for Melbourne’s modernist artists, as well as being their refuge from the cruelty of wealthy Melbourne society snobs – a circle they have both grown up in but now renounce. They plant an oak tree by the house.

Four years later John is surprised at work by a man from a Carlton hat factory. Sid Nolan has heard that John Reed is giving money away to artists and Sid wants to learn to paint in Paris. John takes Sid out to Heide, where Sunday eviscerates him for his lack of class, grace or artistic education. But both she and John see something in Sid and invite him to live with them.

A year later, Sid is painting at Heide, and being educated by the Reeds in philosophy, art and music, as well as heavy drinking. Two years after that, Sid has left his wife and baby to live and paint at Heide, with Sunday especially involved in directing his subject. They are also sleeping together [alluded to more than described].

By 1943 their relationship is genuine, tender and reciprocal – they work on the Ned Kelly series together – but Sid is increasingly annoyed that Sunday won’t leave John. John tolerates being cuckolded, though the all-night drinking may help. Heide is regularly in a shambles as a result of the almost nightly parties/gatherings/exhibitions.

At war’s end, Sid is determined to demand Sunday from John, but Sunday is appalled and dismissive of Sid’s preposterous effrontery – she is not chattel to be traded and no one’s honour is impugned in their arrangement. Sid breaks it off.

Sunday discusses the stalemate in 1947 with artist Joy Hester, who has seen Sid, but has come to ask that John and Sunday look after her and Albert Tucker’s son, Sweeney. Tucker is in London and Joy now has a new lover, and she wants to move to Sydney to paint in its glorious light. Sunday sees through this, and knows that John has sent for Joy in an attempt to pull Sunday out of her post-Sid depression.

A year later, John and Sunday have dragged the table out under the now impressive oak tree because Sid Nolan is returning. When he does, they quickly realise it’s not for pleasure but to demand the return of his Ned Kelly series. He’s married John’s estranged sister, Cynthia, and he’s moving permanently to Sydney; though he will also travel, finally, to Europe. After some bitter arguing and vitriol, Sunday – certain that Sid will paint nothing of significance without her – takes off in the direction of the river [a suicide attempt is alluded to rather than described]. Later, John has saved her from the Yarra. Wet and shivering, they laugh at Sid’s Europhilia and know that, together, they will be fine.

This production contains coarse language and sexual references.

Recommended for ages 15+ / Year 10+

Jacky

Jacky
By Declan Furber Gillick
Directed by Mark Wilson

Please note this is a new work and the content is subject to change prior to the performance season. This guide will be updated as changes occur.

Jacky is an Aboriginal man living and working in the city. Linda, who runs a large work placement and training company, runs into Jacky at a Harmony Day event; he’s a client of hers from a year ago when he first moved to the city from regional Australia.

Linda is getting a divorce from record enthusiast Glenn and is looking to finally settle their property dispute. Their marriage foundered partly because Glenn wants to explore his desire to sleep with black men [DESCRIBED]. Unbeknownst to Linda, Glenn has hired Jacky to explore this desire: Jacky is a sex worker as well as a First Nations cultural dancer and storyteller. Their relationship develops sexually and emotionally as Glenn continues to engage Jacky’s services [ENACTED].

Keith, Jacky’s younger step-brother arrives and is pumped about living with his bro’ in the big city. However, Keith is not making the most of the experience – other than betting at the pub – and has lied to Jacky about having a baker’s apprenticeship. Jacky co-opts Linda into helping Keith get a job at the local pub. Linda also seeks Jacky’s advice on a partnership/acquisition she is making of an Aboriginal Women’s Back-to-Work outfit.

Keith, who had been struggling, cooks Jacky a Sunday roast in his newly tidied flat. They video call home, heartened by talking with family.

Glenn starts making it semi-regular with Jacky and even begins giving him gifts, as well as telling Linda about the relationship – in general terms. Linda is stung by this news and spitefully accuses Glenn of having used her, and dismissed her, when she could no longer stomach his ‘kink’ [DESCRIBED]. Glenn tries a new role play with Jacky that involves racist tropes and Jacky is appalled. Glenn is awfully apologetic [ENACTED].

Linda presses Jacky on smoothing her relationship with the Aboriginal organisation but he cannot really speak for them. This is pushed to the point where Jacky accepts a job as part of the launch of the partnership between the two organisations. At the launch party, Keith is shocked to discover that Jacky’s ‘cultural’ act is cobbled together and built from stolen parts. Glenn is also at the launch and loses his temper at Jacky, who pretends not to know him. Jacky has also realised that Keith was fired from the pub and stole that Sunday roast. He kicks him out.

Linda wants Jacky to explain the ethics behind the Aboriginal Co-op’s decisions, but also apologises for putting him in a terrible position, one that has singled him out for strident criticism from the local First Nations community. Glenn comes around to Jacky’s flat to apologise and is aggressive, cruel and pathetic. On Glenn’s exit, Keith arrives and sees Jacky’s messy, miserable state. They resolve their differences and decide a trip back home is much needed.

This production contains explicit sexual references, some nudity, frequent coarse language and mature themes.

Recommended for ages 18+

Not recommended for schools

As You Like It

As You Like it
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Simon Phillips

Shakespeare’s warm-hearted pastoral love comedy As You Like It tells the story of two young people who are simultaneously banished by cruel familial betrayals and end up together and in love in the forest of Arden. Pitting the machinations and artifice of courtly life against the natural honesty of the country, As You Like It features Shakespeare’s greatest comic heroine, Rosalind, and some philosophizing by the mournful Jacques. It is at once giddily romantic and deeply humanist.

No significant changes to existing text at this time.

This production contains choreographed violence and dangerous levels of romance.

Recommended for ages 12+ / Year 7+