Meet the family. Edith is a highly-strung matriarch who prepares for lunch like it’s a military offensive. Youngest son Matthew, a frustrated actor and reluctant lawyer, longs for a different career … and for his brother’s wife. But Nicole, peeved and prickling for an argument, longs only for a drink. It’s Christmas – what could possibly go wrong?
Sam Holcroft’s audacious script cranks the familial tension up to 11 using narrative tricks that clue the audience into a joke of which the hapless characters are unaware. Frenetically funny, Rules for Living is about all those expectations and roles that life sets upon us – and the tics and twitches that betray us when we struggle to shake them off.
Susanna Dowling makes her STC directorial debut with a brilliant ensemble cast including Keegan Joyce (ABC TV’s Please Like Me and Rake), Amber McMahon (Banging Denmark), Logie Award-winner Hazem Shammas, Bruce Spence (The Harp in the South), Sonia Todd (ABC TV’s Rake and Channel 9’s McLeod’s Daughters), Nikita Waldron (Lord of the Flies), and Ella Jacob.
Sam Holcroft is an award-winning British playwright. Her 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; and The Wardrobe for the National Theatre’s Connections Festival.
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 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
Director: Susanna Dowling Featuring: Ella Jacob, Keegan Joyce, Amber McMahon, Hazem Shammas, Bruce Spence, Sonia Todd, Nikita Waldron Designer: Charles Davis Lighting Designer: Sian James-Holland AV Designer: Laura Turner Composer & Sound Designer: James Brown Movement Director: Tom Hodgson Fight Director: Nigel Poulton Voice and Text Coach: Danielle Roffe Assistant Director: Carissa Licciardello
Rules For Living
Drama Theatre – Sydney Opera House, Bennelong Point
Season: 7 November – 19 December 2020 (previews: 2 – 5 November)
Information and Bookings: www.sydneytheatre.com.au
Image: Fallen Tree – courtesy of Sydney Theatre Company