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.

Home, I'm Darling

Home, I'm Darling
By Laura Wade

Johnny and Judy live in a picture-perfect 1950’s home. Judy prepares Johnny’s meals and keeps a tidy house while he’s away at work. Despite appearances, Johnny and Judy do not live in the 1950s but in the present day, choosing to live as if they are in the 1950s. When Judy hears that Johnny was in the 'modern day' mall, the one that swore they would never enter, with another woman, she is worried that their pristine 1950s life is starting to crumble. Johnny admits that he does go there for work assignments and on this occasion he was there dining with his new boss, Alex, to improve his chances of promotion.

When the couple have Alex over for cocktails, Johnny gets a glimpse of their lives from Alex’s point of view, and he becomes very self-conscious. Alex seems uncomfortable with just how far they have taken their ‘50s fantasy – might it be having an adverse impact on Johnny’s work? The unravelling continues when friends Fran and Marcus come over to admit that they are beginning to question the whole commitment to living life as if it were still the ‘50s. While Judy hides her disappointment, Alex calls Johnny letting him know that she won’t be promoting him. Later that night he discovers that Judy’s hidden a letter from the bank about their defaulted mortgage repayments and that she has already burned through her redundancy payout and inheritance. The evening ends with Johnny declaring that they must stop living the way they are –Judy must go back to work.

In Act Two there is a flashback to the moment Judy took voluntary redundancy from her high-flying finance job and their decision to try living differently. Back in the present, things continue to disintegrate: Johnny admits he has feelings for Alex, his boss; Marcus’s employer sends him home after a sexual harassment accusation [described]; and Judy’s mother Sylvia chastises her daughter for living in a make-believe 1950s, after being  raised in a feminist commune. Judy reveals Johnny’s feelings to Alex, who does not reciprocate. Judy entertains a dalliance with Marcus but ultimately rejects his advances. Next time we see her she is jeans-clad on the couch with Johnny eating pizza. They have an honest conversation confirming their love for one another and about society’s conventions, nostalgia and gender roles. Johnny receives a promotion (to a different branch) and Judy confesses her dread at going back into the workforce. They dance together and we see their new morning routine.

Contains coarse language, mature themes and sexual references.

  • Mature themes – in Act 2, it is revealed that Marcus is under investigation for workplace sexual harassment. There is a conversation about this between Judy and Fran.

Torch the Place

Torch the Place 
By Benjamin Law

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.

Three adult siblings gather to help their mother de-clutter their now over-stuffed family home in the Gold Coast hinterland. Confronting the hoarding is one thing, but helping their Mum through the trauma that enables it is another entirely. Eldest daughter Teresa’s dreams of being a concert pianist are now dashed since she has, by default, become the primary carer of her elderly mother. Mum is a force of nature and well-aware of Teresa and husband Paul’s attempts, in her opinion, to kick her out and steal her stuff. Nat, the prodigal daughter and social media influencer, has returned from overseas to sort out this hot mess because as Mum’s favourite, she is the only one of them with a chance of being heard. As for uni student and social justice warrior Toby, he thinks they should just burn the place down, possibly with their Mum in it. Paul, for his part, thinks selling the house should be easy, until he realises the volume of work to be done to get it market ready – there is a toilet bowl on the front lawn. Every room is filled with boxes of junk, magazines and ‘memorabilia’, plus each time they try and clear some space by putting something in the bins marked ‘donate’ or ‘chuck’ Mum puts it back in ‘keep’. During the cleaning process they all take some old magic mushrooms they find in a box and go on a trip [enacted]. There are various flashbacks to the family’s early life and the collapse of Mum’s marriage.

Eventually the siblings confront that their mother is not simply cantankerous and wilful, but that she may be genuinely ill. This is made evident when she climbs into the mini-skip to rescue a stained Humphrey B Bear toy, emerging covered in blood and cuts [enacted]. Together they step up to the problem, set-aside their personal feuds (even Teresa and Paul find time to fall back in love, and at one point make love, [enacted]), and work as one to take good care of the woman who ushered them into, and through, this world.

Contains frequent coarse language, sexual references, mature themes and references to mental health issues.

  • Mature themes – references to abuse, enacted violence and drug use.
  • References to mental health issues – Mum experiences compulsive hoarding tendencies and associated trauma. Themes of depression and anxiety.

Emerald City

Emerald City
By David Williamson

Colin, Australia's most successful screenwriter, is without a project. Teaming up with wannabe writer Mike might see his pet project about WW2 Coastwatchers get up, but his producer Elaine thinks he needs to write the story for which she paid a fortune to secure the rights. Colin must stay ahead of the pack now that he and his publisher wife Kate have moved up to Sydney from Melbourne – they need more money, and he needs a boost to his reputation, status and ego.

Coastwatchers gets made, but it’s a disaster (possibly because of Mike’s tacky changes to Colin’s scripts). And when Colin meets Mike’s girlfriend Helen, he’s besotted. Helen demands that Colin choose between art and commerce. Colin is paralysed with indecision in the face of likely career implosion.

After interval Kate expresses her concern for the demise of Colin’s integrity, which deepens as he accedes to developing Mike’s new idea - an Aussie Miami Vice rip-off, and as he flirts increasingly flagantly with Helen; all of which blindsides him to Mike charming Elaine, his producer.

Kate’s journey, however, is in the opposite direction: her latest author has been nominated for the Booker Prize and Kate is being promoted (which includes an office with a harbour view). Colin is furious, most especially as she is flying First Class to the ceremony – what of her much-vaunted scruples? Soon Mike is now doing multi-million dollar writing deals (though without ever finishing a script) while Colin’s writing languishes on the shoals of his despair of the world – though mostly about Sydney being a sinkhole of hyperbole. Kate sells her book’s movie rights to Mike who asks Colin to do the adaptation. It’s a quick cash and status injection, but Colin refuses because he knows that the First Nations author is against the adaptation. Colin is back on the ascendant at play’s end - powered by an unshakable belief in art, though unaware that Kate has been unfaithful to him with her boss [described] – but Mike, while rich, is loathed and has no integrity.

Contains coarse language, sexual references and mature themes.

Berlin

Berlin
By Joanna Murray-Smith

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.

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 [described]. 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? 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 frequent coarse language, mature themes and sexual references.

  • Mature themes – references to the holocaust.

SLAP. BANG. KISS.

SLAP. BANG. KISS. 
by Dan Giovannoni  

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.

In a city under martial law, 16-year-old Immi passes through a checkpoint on her way home. Soldiers check her bags and papers, a familiar routine that irritates Immi. Later, she sees her flag jammed behind bins, and her anger toward her oppressors grows. Confronted by a male soldier on the street, Immi slaps him [described].

Elsewhere, 16-year-old Sofia is at school, bored and waiting for the final bell. An alarm sounds, and suddenly an active shooter enters the classroom. Sofia is wounded [described], and some of her peers are killed, including her friend Rebecca [described].

In the carpark of a Wangaratta Woolworths, 16-year-old Darby is preparing to break the world record for the longest kiss with another boy from his school, Daniel. Darby’s friend Jasmine live streams the kiss on her phone.

Later, Immi’s family are concerned about the repercussions of her actions, and soon she is arrested and imprisoned. Immi’s slap was captured on camera and goes viral. At Sofia’s school, she hides in a cupboard and reflects on safety drills, until police escort her out of the school. Overhearing a journalist offering “thoughts and prayers”, Sofia speaks her mind to the camera. Her speech is broadcast widely, prompting Sofia to plan a march for gun control. In the Woolworths carpark, a Slurpee is thrown at the boys from a passing car, along with homophobic slurs, but onlookers gather around Darby and Daniel to protect them. The boys’ kiss attracts a growing crowd of supporters in the carpark.

Soon after, the initial actions of Immi, Sofia and Darby become movements bigger than themselves, as seen through new characters. Leon and Beau, empowered by Immi as a symbol of resistance, plan a protest. Morrie stands up for a stranger being intimated on a train, and Vida comes face to face with a soldier at a protest. Marc and Delilah help organise a gun control march, Joy joins the march, and Clem watches the march on their phone. Aiden joins the crowd in the Woolworths carpark, Kathryn cheers on the kissing boys, and Archie might’ve just fallen in love.

Contains coarse language, and references to gun violence and homophobia. May contain theatrical haze effects and dynamic sound.

Recommended for ages 14+.

Sexual Misconduct of the Middle Classes

Sexual Misconduct of the Middle Classes
by Hannah Moscovitch

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.

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. 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 course language, sexual references and mature themes

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

The Heartbreak Choir

The Heartbreak Choir
by Aidan Fennessy

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.

A semi-rural amateur choir has split over a matter of principle and the breakaway choir is now made up of five singers, founding member Barbara, Totty, Aseni, Mack and Mack’s daughter Savannah. Barbara is determined that the new venture is a success, but until they find a bass that might prove tricky – plus, they also need to deal with the dispute that split the original group.

The five are haunted by the recent suicide of one of their members [described], Caro. Individually, and as a choir, they are aware that they must reach some resolution to Caro’s death in order to move forward. We discover Caro was molested as a child by the priest whose church they had previously been rehearsing in [described a number of times in increasing detail]. They move from this church to the Community Hall and rename of the Choir, motivated by the death of their friend.

Caro’s widow, Peter, seeks to join the group and the choir rehearses for their first paid gig, but the church mysteriously burns down [described], and the group is faced with some hard questions and stark choices. Can they help Peter, and themselves, through grief and suffering back onto a path towards compassion and joy? And who is responsible for the fire?

Caro never told Peter of her abuse, and Act One ends with Aseni delivering the shocking news directly to him. Act Two sees the consequence this information has on Peter and his son, but they find solitude in the choir group. Together they sing and land gig after gig and the play ends with a song at the local Festival, and the healing process begins.

Contains coarse language, mature themes, references to sexual assault, and references to suicide.

  • Mature themes – In Act 2, Barbara describes in detail the sexual assault that Caro had experienced as a child.
  • References to suicide – Mentions of Caro’s suicide are regular throughout the play and the method of Caro’s suicide is discussed between characters.

Fun Home

Fun Home
Music by Jeanine Tesori, Book and Lyrics by Lisa Kron, based on the graphic novel by Alison Bechdel

Alison is a middle-aged cartoonist trying to make sense of her family history as she creates a graphic novel about them. Going through objects from their shared past, she draws, and writes, herself as a child pushing against her father Bruce’s desire for her to be more ‘girly’. As a kid she’d love it when he’d lift her like she was flying, but he’d tire of it well before she did.

Bruce runs the family funeral home, but his passion is restoring their 19th Century house. His wife Helen and the three kids are forced to pose as a model family for visitors. Alison moves between seeing herself as ‘Small Alison’ – making a fake TV commercial with her brothers amongst the coffins, rapturously realising she’s drawn to women, and to the act of drawing itself – and as ‘Medium-aged Alison’: a college student who meets Joan and joyfully dives into her new life.

When Alison comes out to her parents in a letter, her father Bruce is patronising, but her mother tells Alison the truth – her father is himself closeted and struggles to ‘control his impulses’. ‘Medium Alison’ takes Joan home for a fairly warm visit, piano duets and nostalgic stories. Her mother warns her not to compromise her life the way she did. Alison goes on a drive with her father and tries to get him to open up about his life, but he can’t. We do see various scenes of Bruce flirting with students, and other young men, often while doing work around the yard [enacted]. When she returns to college he steps in front of a truck, most likely on purpose [described].

As Alison draws her life and the links between who her father and mother were, she finds peace and connection. The three Alisons come together and watch ‘Small Alison’ being lifted into the air by her father one more time, seeing the world and her whole life for the first time.

Contains coarse language, mature themes, sexual references and references to suicide.

  • Mature themes – references to abuse and some misogynistic and homophobic themes.
  • References to suicide – descriptions of suicide.

True West

True West
by Sam Shepard

True West is set in the ‘80s not far from LA. Lee, a man in his early 40’s has returned one evening to his mother’s home after time in the desert to find his brother Austin, an early 30’s screenwriter, looking after it while she’s in Alaska. Lee is a hustler with an enigmatic past, more interested in borrowing Austin’s car to steal electronics from nearby houses than in Austin’s health or well-being.

When Austin has a meeting with a producer, Saul, Lee crashes it, sweet-talking his way into a golf meeting with Saul to discuss his screenplay that is ‘authentic Western’. Lee scores a deal, a deal that will be at the detriment of Austin’s own deal, tensions flare. Lee cannot write the script without Austin but Austin refuses to comply. Lee tries to type out the screenplay as the brothers drink – heavily. Lee bets Austin that he couldn’t even steal a toaster; Austin retorts that if he can Lee must take him into the desert.

The following morning, Austin lines up several stolen toasters while Lee smashes the typewriter with a golf club, his script on fire in a bowl nearby [enacted]. At this, their most vulnerable moment, they admit that each wants what the other has. Each consider themselves a failure. Their mother returns home to find her house trashed and her sons at each other’s throats.

Lee decides to go back to the desert, refusing to take Austin. Austin then grabs a phone, and its cord, and begins to strangle his brother, afraid Lee will kill him if he lets him go [enacted]. Distraught, their mother leaves, unable to recognise her home. Lee appears dead when Austin lets him go but he springs to life, blocking the door. As the sound of coyotes howling builds, the light fades leaving the brothers in a standoff.

Contains strong coarse language, mature themes and sexual references.

  • Mature themes – references to suicide and enacted violence.

As You Like It

As You Like It
By William Shakespeare

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.

Contains choreographed violence and staged deaths.

Girls & Boys

Girls & Boys
By Dennis Kelly

A woman speaks to the audience directly. She is charming, funny and a natural storyteller, starting her chat telling us of her first meeting with the man who will become her husband. She was on a spontaneous trip through Europe after a breakup and they saw each other across a crowded airport.

We then hear about their children. They are playful and mischievous, always bringing mud into the house and eating things they shouldn’t. She is enamoured of her husband, a charming man who is funny and clever, runs his own business and is endlessly supportive of her. She gets a job working for a documentary filmmaker executive using her fearlessness and sparkling wit.

Later she is reminded of the moment she found out that she was pregnant and feared her husband’s reaction. Instead she was pleasantly surprised by his excitement.

The kids however are no longer in the house. They are dead. Her husband’s business failed, he was possibly having an affair, and, after confronting him, it turns out he was jealous of her success. They divorced and she got the kids. He enacted his revenge on her however, killed the children [described] and attempted suicide [described]. She talks us through the concept of family annihilation and why it happens.

Her ex-husband’s suicide attempt was a failure and disabled but alive, he serves a prison term, ultimately suiciding while on remand. She is telling us her story as part of a project to rebuild the memories of her time with her children, free from him. The final moment is her with her sleeping child Danny, and assuring Lauren that her dreams are pleasant. This is a well-wrought story, funny and deeply brutal that looks at human resilience, family violence and how we can find catharsis in storytelling.

Contains frequent course language, mature themes and descriptions of graphic violence.

  • Mature themes – references to abuse and domestic violence.
  • Descriptions of graphic violence – extremely graphic descriptions of the killing of children.
  • References to suicide – graphic descriptions of a suicide method.

Sunshine Super Girl

Sunshine Super Girl
By Andrea James

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.

Sunshine Super Girl begins by a creek in Wiradjuri country with a woman catching cod for her family at her Dad’s favourite fishing spot. Her name is Evonne and fishing reminds her of playing tennis and getting in the zone of pure concentration – that moment when you’re ready for anything.

We meet Evonne as a child and at seven she is invited to play at the local tennis club. Playing with her brother and sister, they win tournaments and get a name for themselves – the Goolagong Three – and a loyal local following prompts a world famous Australian tennis coach, Vic Edwards, to visit Barellan and watch them play.

Vic is so impressed – by now Evonne has won every comp in NSW – he takes her to Sydney to live with his family so she can train with him every day. He sees her as a future world champion, and after meeting Margaret Court, Evonne starts dreaming of Wimbledon at the age of 12.

Battling loneliness, racism and adversity, Evonne does eventually make it to Wimbedon. She doesn’t win the first time, but she does soon rack up Grand Slam wins (the first two being the French Open then Wimbledon in 1971 when she was just 20), becoming World Champion at 25 and the first mother to win Wimbledon since 1914. She played the world’s best – Billie-Jean King, Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova – but always phoned home to check-in with her family, and always dreamed of home in the Riverina. Though a reluctant activist, she was nevertheless one of the first great ambassadors for First Nations’ Australians.

Contains coarse language, mature themes and sexual references.

  • Mature themes – themes of racism and references to racism.

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