A moving portrayal of Australian families, Michael Gow’s Away is widely regarded as one of the classic plays of the Australian theatrical canon. For over three decades audiences have been captivated by this story about the coming of age of both a group of individuals and the country in which they live.
Under the direction of Matthew Lutton and featuring an exceptional ensemble cast, Gow’s sharply observed and emotionally-charged modern classic returns in a new co-production by Sydney Theatre Company and Melbourne’s Malthouse Theatre.
It is summer, 1967, and three families head for the coast to get away, to move on, to change. Set against the backdrop of an Australia recovering from the Vietnam War, and wrestling with social upheaval, this production pits the internal conflict of family life against the struggle of a country shaping its indeterminate future.
A triptych of glorious mothers, portrayed by Heather Mitchell, Natasha Herbert and Julia Davis – one recovering from the loss of a child, one who fears the same for her own, and one learning to let go – are each determined to take this holiday as a restful time of rejuvenation.
Taking up playwright Michael Gow’s challenge to break apart the rules of theatre, Matthew Lutton’s production of Away unleashes the full theatricality of the text; intimacy gives way to the epic, and suburbia is replaced with the dark spectacle of a tempest. As the pressures of family secrets swell and gather into a storm, each mother and each family feels their way towards new, more hopeful ground.
Matthew Lutton was appointed artistic director of Malthouse in 2015. As an award-winning director, Lutton has collaborated with companies around Australia and overseas including Sydney Theatre Company, Black Swan State Theatre, Belvoir, Griffin Theatre, Opera Australia, West Australian Opera, New Zealand Opera and Bavarian State Opera.
Previously for Sydney Theatre Company he has directed The Duel, The Mysteries: Genesis with Andrew Upton and Tom Wright, and The Trial. For Malthouse Theatre, his directing credits include: Picnic at Hanging Rock, I Am a Miracle, Night on Bald Mountain, The Bloody Chamber, Dance of Death, Pompeii, L.A., On the Misconception of Oedipus, Die Winterreise, The Trial and Tartuffe.
“Gow balances epic forces— dark and light, life and death, rage and forgiveness— elegantly and even delicately… In a way that is unsentimental, true, funny, affectionate and wise.” – Hilary Bell
Director: Matthew Lutton Featuring: Marco Chiappi, Julia Davis, Wadih Dona, Glenn Hazeldine, Natasha Herbert, Heather Mitchell, Liam Nunan, Naomi Rukavina Set & Costume Designer: Dale Ferguson Lighting Designer: Paul Jackson Composer & Sound Designer: J. David Franzke Choreography: Stephanie Lake
Drama Theatre – Sydney Opera House, Bennelong Point
Season: 23 February – 25 March 2017 (previews: 18 – 22 February)
Information and Bookings: www.sydneytheatre.com.au
Merlyn Theatre – The Coopers Malthouse, 113 Sturt Street, Southbank
Season: 3 – 28 May 2017
Information and Bookings: www.malthousetheatre.com.au
Image: Liam Nunan and Naomi Rukavina feature in Away – photo by James Green