A new play about two brothers heading to the mountains for a party weekend to bury the hatchet on a lifelong rivalry, Malthouse Theatre presents Stay Woke by Aran Thangaratnam in the Bexkett Theatre from 25 February 2022.
Big brother Niv has gone vegan. He’s madly in love, he’s starting his own business, and seems to have finally found himself after years as the black sheep of the family.
In an attempt to reconcile their differences, Niv invites golden child Sai and his new girlfriend Kate on a ski trip where they can put the past aside for the sake of family.
But when party banter turns political, Kate stumbles into a minefield, and finds herself the focal point of an all-out war.
Stay Woke will be the first play performed in The Malthouse’s Beckett Theatre in over two years, following the cancellations of Season 2020 and the hugely successful season of Because The Night (2021) that took over the entirety of The Malthouse building.
“Stay Woke is such an exciting play to return to the Beckett with; it’s so contemporary in its references and so fearless in its desire to tackle issues like white fragility, weaponised wokeness, and cultural appropriation,” says Malthouse Theatre Artist in Residence and Stay Woke Director Bridget Balodis.
“In rehearsals I keep thinking about comedians like Alok Vaid-Menon and Hannah Gadsby – it’s a knife’s edge comedy, and even though the play has a big heart, no one is safe from scrutiny.”
Writer Aran Thangaratnam was a participant of Malthouse Theatre’s Malcolm Robertson Writers Program in 2020, which commissions two early career playwrights each year to write a full-length play, and enabled him to develop Stay Woke.
Aran joins an illustrious group of prior recipients of the Malcolm Robertson Writer’s Program, including Osamah Sami & Janice Muller, Jada Alberts, Emilie Collyer, Michele Lee, Zoë Coombs Marr, Nakkiah Lui, Declan Greene and Lally Katz, with Malthouse Theatre presenting many of these plays including Australian Realness, Good Muslim Boy, Going Down and Blaque Showgirls.
This original comedy stars Green Room Award-winning Dushan Phillips (Red Stitch Actors’ Ensemble) and newcomer Kaivu Suvarna as the two brothers, alongside Rose Adams and Brooke Lee. Funny and feisty, Stay Woke is all about the bitter warfare behind brotherly love.
Director: Bridget Balodis | Featuring: Rose Adams, Brooke Lee, Dushan Philips, Kaivu Suvarna | Dramaturg: Mark Pritchard | Set & Costume Designer: Matilda Woodroofe | Lighting Designer: Rachel Lee | Composer & Sound Designer: Daniella A Esposito | Stage Manager: Jess Keepence | Writer: Aran Thangaratnam
Beckett Theatre – Malthouse Theatre, 113 Sturt Street, Southbank
Season: 2 – 13 March 2022 (previews: 25 February – 1 March)
Information and Bookings: www.malthousetheatre.com.au
Image: Stay Woke by Shortcut Creative | Illustration: Hours After