Poking fun at one of the luckiest social groups in modern society, Melbourne Theatre Company presents Straight White Men – a new razor-edged comedy from one of American theatre’s most acute observers of race and identity, Young Jean Lee – will receive its Australian premiere on Thursday 12 May at the Fairfax Studio, Arts Centre Melbourne.
Christmas is for family, and brothers Matt, Jake and Drew gather at their Dad’s house for the usual observances of the holiday season, adding a few rituals of their own, such as playing politically-correct board games and worrying about what Mum would think.
Although she’s been dead for some time now, their liberal, feminist mother still casts a vast shadow. She taught them how being heterosexual white males gives them an unfair advantage in America, but, as carefree youth gives way to mid-life anxiety, privileged is the last thing they feel.
One of the most talked about plays of recent New York seasons, director Sarah Giles takes on this study of social identity featuring Hamish Michael (Janet King), Gareth Reeves (Mary: The Making of a Princess), John Gaden (Other Desert Cities) and Luke Ryan (Yellow Moon) and Candy Bowers (Circus Oz).
“If you measure your theatre by the quality of the conversation it provokes, then this piece will not disappoint, says Giles. “Prepare to be entertained and simultaneously challenged in a wildly mischievous way as Young Jean Lee hits hard on the subject of white privilege and white centrality.”
“Straight white man? Gay black woman? Transgender Japanese-Australian? This play is for all of us. Donald Trump and his supporters are out in the open; Adam Goodes is booed on and off the field; women are still paid less than men for the same work; this play couldn’t be more timely. Lee’s genius is that she will have you in stitches while you squirm in your seat.”
Multi-award winning writer, director and filmmaker, Young Jean Lee has been called ‘the most adventurous downtown playwright of her generation’ by the New York Times and ‘one of the best experimental playwrights in America’ by TimeOut New York.
She has written and directed ten shows in New York with Young Jean Lee’s Theater Company, and toured her work to over thirty cities around the world including Melbourne where she performed her work, We’re Gonna Die as part of the 2012 Melbourne Festival.
Lee is known for challenging herself with inherently personal works which include: Untitled Feminist Show, Lear, The Shipment and Church. Her first short film, Here Come the Girls was presented at The Locarno International Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival, and BAMcinemaFest.
Director: Sarah Giles Featuring: Candy Bowers, John Gaden, Hamish Michael, Gareth Reeves, Luke Ryan Set & Costume Designer: Eugyeene Teh Lighting Designer: Lisa Mibus Sound Designer: David Heinrich Music Consultant: Candy Bowers Voice & Dialect Coach: Geraldine Cook Assistant Director: Dominic Mercer
Straight White Men
Fairfax Studio – Arts Centre Melbourne, 100 St. Kilda Road, Melbourne
Season: 12 May – 18 June 2016 (previews: 6 – 11 May)
Bookings: 1300 182 183 or online at: www.artscentremelbourne.com.au
For more information, visit: www.mtc.com.au for details.
Image: Gareth Reeves and John Gaden feature in Straight White Men – courtesy of MTC