A psychedelic romp through the myths of our glorious nation’s past, present and imagined future, Theatre Works and Montague Basement presents the Australian premiere season of Kim Ho’s new work, The Great Australian Play at Theatre Works from 20 February 2020.
Australia, 1930. As the Great Depression tightens its grip on a hungry, fledgling nation, Harold Bell Lasseter charms everyone with his story of a fabulously wealthy ‘reef’ of gold, hidden in the vast interior. Brave adventurers set off in search of riches and salvation… but the expedition descends into a nightmare.
Australia, 2020. Relentless funding cuts have left the arts community weary and desperate. Looking for commercial and critical acclaim, five storytellers uncover the legend of Lasseter’s Reef and figure it’s a sure-fire win. It’s got everything; vanishing conmen, sweeping adventure, even a Nazi German dingo scalper.
An ingenious new satire from Kim Ho, winner of the Patrick White Award, The Great Australian Play is a dazzling, kaleidoscopic work is the epic play Australia’s been waiting for!
“The catalyst for The Great Australian Play was stumbling across a podcast about Lasseter’s reef,” said Ho. “I went to research the story more and the first book I opened up has my great grandfather’s name on the first page. Turns out he was best friends with the leader of the expedition, Fred Blakeley.”
“Blakeley used my great grandfather’s typewriter to type his memoir and I managed to track down that manuscript because it had become a family heirloom. As soon as that fell into my lap I had to write this play. The tone and style of the play might best be described as Heart of Darkness meets Priscilla: Queen of the Desert. It engages with contemporary discourse about media, pop culture, cultural imperialism and the ways in which our stories shape us – for better or worse.”
Joining forces with Theatre Works for this premiere season, Montague Basement is a Sydney-based independent theatre company launched in 2014. Since then they have grown to encompass new Australian work, devised adaptations of classics and films, immersive productions and much more. In 2018 the company presented its first interstate show, The Public Domain Opera as part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival. They are thrilled to return to Melbourne with The Great Australian Play.
Directer: Saro Lusty-Cavallari Featuring: Tamara Lee Bailey, Sermsah Bin Saad, Daniel Fischer, Sarah Fitzgerald, Jessa Koncic Set Design: Claudia Mirabello Costume Design: Carmody Nicol Lighting Design: Nicholas Moloney Stage Manager: Max Woods Assistant Stage Manager: Brooke Simmonds Dramaturg: Carissa Lee Playwright: Kim Ho Producer: Imogen Gardam
The Great Australian Play
Theatre Works, 14 Acland Street, St Kilda
Season: 20 – 29 February 2020 (preview: 19 February)
Information and Bookings: www.theatreworks.org.au
Image: Kim Ho is the playwright of The Great Australian – photo by Jack Dixon Gunn