Family Values

AAR Griffin Theatre Company Family Values Andrew McFarlaneA blackly comic drama examining Australia’s inept response to the refugee crisis, Griffin Theatre Company presents Family Values – a new play by David Williamson at the SBW Stables Theatre from 17 January 2020.

Roger is a celebrated federal judge. For his birthday he wants nothing more than to reminisce about the good times with his wife and his three children – a leader of a born-again Christian church, a Border Force ship-hand and a left-wing activist. When a surprise guest turns out to be an asylum seeker on the run from Nauru, the fault lines that divide Australia play out in one family’s living room.

Family Values is Williamson at his angry best: furious that his generation has retired from defending the socially compassionate values on which they claim to have built this country. “Family Values is a term used by our government as a code for ‘we hate diversity’, and I think this is what my play is saying,” he says.

The play asks us to choose freedom over reputation, empathy over franking credits; to abandon a deeply flawed system for the sake of humanity. His belief that comedy can reveal our harshest truths is undimmed, and his hope that theatre can change hearts and minds remains an inspiration to the whole industry.

Directed by Lee Lewis, Family Values features Australian acting stalwarts Andrew McFarlane (Miss Fisher’s Modern Murder Mysteries; Mary Stuart, Sydney Theatre Company; Secret City, Glitch) and Belinda Giblin (The Turquoise Elephant, Griffin; Home and Away, Sons and Daughters).

They will be joined by Danielle King (No End of Blame, Sport for Jove; Doctor Doctor, The Let Down, ABC) Jamie Oxenbould (The Literati, Griffin and Bell Shakespeare; The Dapto Chaser, Griffin Independent), Ella Prince (4:48 Psychosis, Redline at The Old Fitz; A Girl Is Half Formed Thing, KXT), Bishanyia Vincent (The Last Wife, Ensemble Theatre; The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, Darlinghurst Theatre Company; Lighten Up, Griffin Independent) and Sabryna Walters (Caress/Ache, Griffin; Macbeth, Bell Shakespeare).

For 50 years, Williamson has shown us the best and worst of ourselves. And as Griffin Theatre Company’s home, the Stables turns 50, it is only fitting that the country’s most successful playwright returns to where he first began.

David Williamson is one of Australia’s best known and most widely performed playwrights. Some of his 55 produced plays over the last 50 years include The Coming of Stork, The Removalists, Don’s Party, The Club, Travelling North, The Perfectionist, Emerald City (including a Griffin production in 2014), Money and Friends, Dead White Males, The Jack Manning Trilogy, Up For Grabs, Soulmates, Nothing Personal, When Dad Married Fury, Cruise Control, Rupert, Dream Home, Odd Man Out, Sorting Out Rachel, Nearer The Gods and The Big Time.

Williamson has adapted many of his plays into feature films, including The Removalists, Don’s Party, The Club, and Emerald City, and has written many original feature screenplays including Gallipoli, Phar Lap, The Year of Living Dangerously, and Balibo (as co-writer) and for television he adapted On The Beach.

Williamson’s many awards include 12 Australian Writers’ Guild Awards, five Australian Film Institute’s Awards for Best Screenplay, and the United Nations Association of Australia Media Peace Award. David has been named one of Australia’s Living National Treasures.

Director: Lee Lewis Featuring: Belinda Giblin, Danielle King, Andrew McFarlane, Jamie Oxenbould, Ella Prince, Bishanyia Vincent, Sabryna Walters Dramaturg: Van Badham Set & Costume Designer: Sophie Fletcher Lighting Designer: Benjamin Brockman Composer & Sound Designer: Steve Francis Stage Manager: Khym Scott

Family Values
SBW Stables Theatre, 10 Nimrod Street, Kings Cross (Sydney)
Season: 24 January – 7 March 2020 (previews: 17 – 21 January)
Information and Bookings:

Following its season at the SBW Stables Theatre, Family Values will play at the Canberra Theatre Centre: 11 – 14 March; and Parramatta’s Riverside Theatres: 18 – 21 March 2020.

Image: Andrew McFarlane stars in Family Values (supplied)