In partnership with the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Red Stitch Actors’ Theatre presents Rules For Living by young British playwright Sam Holcroft. This hilarious black comedy uses the traditional chaos of a Christmas to examine the bizarre strategies we adapt to cope with everyday life.
A Christmas lunch and a confined space – it’s a recipe for disaster for even the most civil families. Matriarch Edith has a long list of rules including a ban on talk about “sex, death and global warming,” in fact, “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” As the drinks flow the festivities unravel into a comedic frenzy of surprising revelations – accusations fly and relationships implode. It’s time to bring out the rules.
Drawing on theories of ‘Cognitive Behavioural Therapy’, Rules for Living is an intelligent study of our perfectionist culture that exposes the complex neuroses beneath our civilised facades.
Making her Red Stitch directorial debut, Kim Farrant will direct this Australian premiere. Her film Strangerland, starring Nicole Kidman, Hugo Weaving and Joseph Fiennes, premiered in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition at Sundance Film Festival in 2015.
Rules For Living features ensemble members Rory Kelly and Caroline Lee alongside guest actors including Jessica Clarke, Mark Dickinson, Jem Nicholas, Ian Rooney, Ella Newton and Lily McCarthy. Set & Costume Designer Sophie Woodward and Composer & Sound Designer Daniel Nixon return to the company alongside Resident Lighting Designer Clare Springett.
Sam Holcroft is currently Writer-In-Residence at the National Theatre Studio. In 2009-10 she was the Pearson Playwright in Residence at the Traverse Theatre and in 2009 she won the Tom Erhardt Award for up and coming writers.
Holcroft’s plays include: Edgar & Annabel, part of Double Feature 1 for the National Theatre, Dancing Bears, part of the Charged season for Clean Break at Soho Theatre and Latitude Festival; While You Lie at the Traverse Theatre; Pink, part of the Women, Power and Politics Season at the Tricycle Theatre; Vanya, adapted from Chekhov, at The Gate.
Her play, Cockroach, co-produced by the National Theatre of Scotland and the Traverse Theatre (nominated for Best New Play 2008, by the Critics’ Awards for Theatre in Scotland and shortlisted for the John Whiting Award, 2009). Rules for Living premiered at London’s The National Theatre in 2015, and was a finalist for the 2016 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize.
“A brilliant black comedy about families, furtive truths and the games that people play… ingenious and insightful play.” – The Times
Rules for Living
Red Stitch Theatre, Rear 2 Chapel Street, St Kilda East
Season: 18 March – 16 April (previews 14 – 17 March)
Information and Bookings: www.redstitch.net
Image: Rules for Living – photo by Earl Carter