It’s Ladies Day at the Broome races and the divinely beautiful Mike is the toast of the track. But amongst the froth and festivity, a brutal act of violence reminds us that life is not just all swishy hemlines, debonair gents and fascinators galore.
Alana Valentine is one of Australia’s best-known verbatim playwrights and spent months interviewing the LGBTQ community in Broome. She mixed these interviews and research with a healthy dose of drama, and the story that ensued is Ladies Day, a complex relationship drama about tender love, revenge, isolation and hope.
“What I loved about meeting these men is the easy way in which we picked up a common conversation, the generous way they disclose themselves, the familiarity of their issues, the similarity of their concerns,” says Valentine. “Yet under the surface is wariness, an awareness of vulnerability perhaps, or a consciousness about not censoring or limiting themselves here. And on the breeze, sometimes, is the slow odour of violence.”
Darren Yap directs and is charged with bringing both the glamour and brutal honesty of this play to life. His previous work with Griffin includes The Serpents Table in 2014, the year he also worked at Hayes Theatre directing Miracle City for Luckiest Productions.
“There are many rich layers to Alana’s work,” says Yap. “For me it’s about people on the margins who often don’t get a chance to voice their stories. These people’s stories are real, complex and sometimes painfully funny. We’re very excited taking you on our journey.”
Ladies Day is presented in association with Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras and features a stunning cast: Matthew Backer is known to audiences for his role of Frankie Valli in the 2011 production of Jersey Boys and also Machinal in 2013 for Sydney Theatre Company. Wade Briggs recently appeared in King Lear for STC, and in 2013 appeared in Rust and Bone for Griffin Independent/Stories Like These.
Lucia Mastrantone appeared in Belvoir’s Popular Mechanicals I and II, directed by Geoffrey Rush and numerous film and TV roles. Elan Zavelsky performed in Bell Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night and has been seen on Australian Television on shows such as Crownies and Underbelly.
Director: Darren Yap Featuring: Matthew Backer, Wade Briggs, Lucia Mastrantone, Elan Zavelsky Designer: James Browne Lighting Designer: Hugh Hamilton Sound Designer & Composer: Max Lambert Stage Manager: Cara Woods
SBW Stables Theatre, 10 Nimrod Street, Kings Cross
Season: 15 February – 26 March 2016
Bookings: (02) 9361 3817 or online at: www.griffintheatre.com.au
For more information, visit: www.griffintheatre.com.au for details.
Image: Ladies Day – photo by Brett Boardman